The federal government shot down Carbon Motors' request for start-up money for its police car plant in Connersville, but company owners aren't giving up.
They were in Carmel Monday trying to sell city officials on the benefits of buying their new vehicle design, even though they haven't built a production line model yet.
Carbon officials have taken their prototype car to 71 stops in 25 states.
They said they have reservations from nearly 600 police departments for 21,000 vehicles, but they still don't have start-up financing, since the federal government turned them down in the spring.
Chairman William Santana Li is still hoping for private financing, although federal stock rules forbid him from discussing how that's coming.
"We have a team in place, said Li. We have the factory in place in Connersville, Ind. We've got customers waiting. We've got suppliers ready to go. So we're in good spirits."
Police like the car, which is designed from the ground up strictly for them with police equipment installed at the factory, not as after-market installation.
And it has unique features, like backwards opening doors that make it easier to put suspects in the back seat.
Of course, they don't know how much it's going to cost.
"I don't know what the price tag is on it now," said Carmel Police Chief Timothy Green. But certainly it's built for endurance, and it's built for the equipment to hold up over a period of time. It's something we'd want to evaluate, because we do spend a fair amount of money now, between the car purchase and the equipment. The equipment is as much as the purchase of the car or more."
Nancy Heck, Carmel community relations director, said the city wouldnt consider a purchase until they see them rolling off the assembly line.
"Of course, we would need to see it in production and see how the product looked after that," Heck said.
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