Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology are working with engineers from Carbon Motors to design and build a car specifically to help police catch bad guys. The result: The E7 sedan, the first car designed for law enforcement, slated for production in 2012. It comes with several features that should reduce the driver’s work load. These include a large touch-screen, voice-activated controls (with a manual back up), an automatic license-plate reader, night vision, and a radiation detector. In all, there will be 70 options from which local law-enforcement agencies can choose. These options include dual turbos for the engine, an undercarriage skid plate for durability, and front and rear ballistic protection.

A 300-hp clean-diesel engine can accelerate the car from 0 to 60 in 6.5 sec. It uses 40% less fuel than current police vehicles which are really just modified passenger cars. The vehicle should also last 250,000 miles. The CEO of Carbon Motors says demand for the vehicles has been overwhelming and he expects the first year of production to sell out before manufacturing begins. Currently, the location of the assembly plant has yet to be revealed. The price of the vehicle has also not been released, but the company says it will be comparable to that of a conventional police car.