The image of limousine services is that they’re big gas-guzzlers. While they might be all comfort and frills on the inside, from the outside they’re huge, imposing monsters designed to throw off an aura of disdain for those unfortunate enough to be on the sidewalk as they motor past.
Of course, that’s a vastly unfair picture to paint. Most charter car services are very mindful of the impact they have on the cities in which they operate. Not just in terms of the road space they occupy, but the air pollution that their huge gas engines put out as well.
It’s good business to be aware of the environmental impact. Apart from the ever-increasing PR negativity about big cars, there’s the simple calculation about what high gas prices do to the bottom line.
And, to be honest, there’re gains to be won by embracing new, green technology. Hence the decision of a number of charter fleet owners to hop on the Tesla bandwagon.
Never was this more on display than at the recent Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, California, where a fleet of Tesla limos shuttled a host of celebrities to and from the red carpet. All helped by the endorsement of major star Morgan Freeman, who has been the driving force (sorry about that) behind a new all-Tesla limo service in the city.
Freeman is well-known as a fan of Elon Musk, the energetic founder of Tesla, having declared: “I own Tesla. I’m a huge fan of Elon Musk. I think he’s got the most incredibly forward thinking ideas about where we can go technologically. What he has done – nobody else has ever done. He has landed a rocket ship so it becomes reusable. You know what a feat that is?”
Freeman is the sole investor in MOTEV, which is building out its fleet of Tesla Model Xs and Ss in Los Angeles, with plans to expand into New York and Atlanta shortly.
But he’s not the only fleet operator with an eye on the future. Neil Spenta, who owns and runs American Corporate Sedan and Limousine in San Diego, has been steadily converting his cars to electric models since he took over the company in 2014.
And he’s adamant that the initial high costs of the electric cars will be repaid in the longterm.
“The money we are going to spend on gas and maintenance over the next five to eight years in itself is more expensive than the car payment for the Tesla,” he said, noting the difference in running costs between the Escalade and Model X SUVs.
It can only be a matter of time before more fleets convert to electric vehicles. The big gas guzzling limos aren’t exactly an endangered species just yet, but it’s not hard to imagine a period in the future when they will be. Sad, in a way, but that’s the price of progress.
Personally, I’ll be quite happy to be whisked away from a busy airport in a quiet electric limo. It’ll let me hear the bubbles in my Champagne a little more clearly!