Demand for the world’s first purpose-built law enforcement vehicle continues to grow: Carbon Motors now has topped 14,000 reservations for the E7 vehicle.

Those reservations have come from more than 400 law enforcement agencies in 48 states, according to a Carbon Motors press release.

Reservations are not orders, said Stacy Dean Stephens, the company’s co-founder and director of communications.

In 2008, the company took its Pure Justice Tour to cities around the country. Police agencies could say, “I like that,” Stephens say. In the first three stops — Chicago, Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio — law enforcement agencies wanted to line up for the E7.

The problem was that agencies had different methods of ordering and different budgeting cycles. Some agencies use money seized in drug cases and have quick purchasing ability. Some cities give their mayor or city manager the ability to write a purchase order for items 10 years down the road. The federal government, though, has 30-month budget cycles, he said.

 Given that variability, the company had to start taking reservations so that everyone could participate, he said.

“The lowest common denominator are the people who don’t have the ability to do anything outside the budgeting cycle,” Stephens explained. “We created the reservations so they could reserve a production slot, which is kind of an inanimate object, rather than a physical vehicle.”

They could name the options they would want on a car and the number of cars in the first year, second year, and so on, he said.

“Then at the appropriate time after we’ve come up with the financing, servicing and warranty and all the things required to put this out on the street, then we will convert the reservations into physical orders,” he said.

He said Tesla Motors, a California company producing high-end electric sports car, took a similar approach. That company took down payments on vehicles that could be completely refunded and they were able to obtain the same U.S. Department of Energy loan that Carbon Motors is seeking, he said.

That $310 million loan application is still moving through channels, he said.
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