Electrifying?

Posted on October 28, 2008 by LCT Magazine

UNDERWHELMING: Check out the launch of a global reservation system for hybrid limousines. Electricar.com may be a great concept with great execution. . .but there is a problem. These fleet vehicles ARE NOT limousines, nor are they luxury sedans like the DTS or the Town Car. Yes, the Lexus 600h almost qualifies, but take a peek in the battery-stuffed trunk and see how many checked bags and carry-ons actually fit. Lost in the spectacle of ga-ga greenery is the emphasis on ROOM. And it goes without saying that the Prius and Camry entries are just laughable. Let's just sell those little hybridette buggers off to Avis and be done with them. If anyone ever shows up to pick you up in a Prius or Camry, then hail a cab. 

So here's a proposal: This industry should start taking "hybrid limousines" seriously once the technology can actually SUPPORT a limousine or luxury vehicle. If operators compromise on comfort and amenities in the name of going green, then don't be surprised if the industry loses its luxury reputation. The bargain here is that the limousine and chauffeured transportation industry should only spend time and money going green if it can maintain fleets of big Lincolns, Cadillacs, Hummers, etc. In fact, instead of letting the green gremlins constantly rate us with "carbon credits," let us rate vehicles among the automakers based on "limo credits," or economic and consumer viability. It could be the industry version of Consumer Reports, or a livery version of Zagat.

We may be entering a political era of schmaltzy "shared sacrifice," but we don't have to extend such collectivist crockery to luxury vehicles. -- M.R.

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