HOLLYWOOD, CALIF. — While the stretch limousine has yet to be produced in hybrid form, more than a handful of Oscar nominees sacrificed some of that extra leg room to travel to the award show in “green” transportation. Hybrids and electric sports cars, Toyota Priuses, and Mercedes E320 CDI, mixed with the traditional fleet of stretch limos and SUVs.
"We maxed out (for Oscar night)," said Dot Findlater, vice president of ECOLIMO, adding that the company's "A-list" clients could not be named.
ECOLIMO partnered with environmental group Global Green USA to transport Oscar nominees to the Kodak Theatre and to after parties. Stars who have arrived in green vehicles at past Oscars include Charlize Theron, Will Ferrell, Harrison Ford, Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
LCT Senior Field Editor Wayne Blanchard, a former owner/operator and Operator of the Year award winner, served as a chauffeur for ECOLIMO during the Oscars, and for pre-Oscar events during the week. He drove a Toyota Prius on the night of the big event, and hung out with hundreds of fellow chauffeurs in the staging area in the Hollywood Bowl. (Wayne will write all about his experiences and the details of working a major awards show in an upcoming issue of LCT.)
Are bigger and better green luxury vehicles on the horizon? Perhaps, says Jeff Greene, president of the NLA, as long as certain design obstacles can be overcome. "The environmentally friendly vehicles weren't really designed or built for the kind of duty our industry demands of the vehicles," said Greene. "There are no stretch limo hybrids because of the electrical requirements and the additional weight of the engine required to absorb and pull."
Sources: L.A. Daily News; LCT Magazine