Vehicles

Builder Prepares New Generation Of Limo Vehicles

Posted on June 23, 2010 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

The London-style taxi-cab vehicles will come in multiple versions for chauffeured micro-markets, including a CNG version.

MIAMI, Fla. — As it gains industry interest, the MV-1 appears ready to offer operators an ideal balance of versatility and fuel economy when it rolls off production lines this fall.

The MV-1, built by VEHICLE PRODUCTION GROUP (VPG) of Miami, already has attracted reservations from operators nationwide serious about buying it, said Dave Schembri, CEO. Among interested companies is EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services.

The MV-1, available in a compressed natural gas (CNG) version, resembles a London-style taxi-cab because it has a similar door width and a low step height, which makes it compliant with the vehicle regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The 10 VERSIONS OF THE MV-1 include paratransit, independent living, assisted living, and livery/luxury models.

“The design is an outcome of its function as a vehicle,” Schembri said. “It was designed first to meet the objectives of ADA.”

One of VPG’s co-founders, Marc Klein, now the executive vice president, acquired the U.S. rights to standard London taxi, Schembri said. “The idea of the convenience and accessibility of the London taxi was the genesis for the concept of the MV-1.”

VEHICLE PRODUCTION GROUP, founded in 2006, engineered the vehicle based on feedback from the special needs community on various prototype vehicles, Schembri said. “We got input on the ease of accessibility.”

VPG displayed the MV-1 during sessions with East Coast operators at the last Limousine Associations of New Jersey meeting on May 19. VPG is offering a free CNG fueling station to any operator who buys 35 or more MV-1s. The fueling station, to be installed by Clean Energy Fuels, the largest natural gas provider for ground transportation in North America, would be installed either on or close to the property of an operator who buys a 35-vehicle-plus fleet.

Although no 35-vehicle and fueling stations packages have been sold so far, VPG is taking reservations from interested operators that are being converted into firm orders, Schembri said. Marketing for the MV-1 will pick up in coming months.

The MV-1 will begin production in October in a converted Hummer H-2 factory in Mishawaka, Ind., near South Bend, owned and operated by the A.M. General Corp.

VPG has not specified vehicle pricing yet, but the fuel version will cost no more than $40,000 while the CNG version range about $4,000 to $5,000 above the fuel vehicle price with applicable federal rebates. The CNG version will have a range of about 290 miles per tankful. Schembri pointed out that CNG fuel is much cheaper than petroleum fuel and is about 98% domestically sourced.

VPG has not disclosed any production targets. So far, it has fielded reservations for about 4,000 MV-1s from several ground transportation sectors.

“We've had significant interest in the vehicle,” Schembri said. “We have several orders from different independent limousine operators.”

— Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine

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