Hybrid Limousines

These days, hybrid cars are commonplace. Nearly everybody knows somebody who drives a hybrid. How quickly things have changed. Just a few years ago, only environmentalists, techno-geeks, and celebrities drove them (at least, according to many media reports). A March 2002 article on Salon.com called hybrids, “the elite feel-good toys of the limousine liberal set.” The article poked fun at Prius-driving Cameron Diaz, who explained hybrid technology on the Tonight Show. “It, like, shuts down and then all of a sudden you just step on the gas and you’re going. It’s unbelieve—I’m thrilled. I’m so excited, ‘cause it’s, like, our future. That’s our future.”

Well, the hybrid future is quickly becoming the hybrid present. Along the way, gas-electric auto technology shed its elite image, appealing to an ever-growing number of regular folk interested in saving money at the pumps or doing their small part to reduce our dependency on oil. Then what do we make of the emergence of hybrid limousine services?

Black and Green

In Los Angeles, New York, Boston, and San Francisco, you can hire an environmentally conscious chauffeured limousine service to pick you up in a black Prius. In New York, OZOcar launched its service in Sept. 2005 with 30 Toyota Priuses, and expects to have nearly 80 available hybrids by the end of the year. The OZOcar hybrids are equipped with high-speed wireless Internet access, an Apple iBook and over 150 Sirius satellite radio stations in the back seat. OZOcar’s originates directly from the hybrid-celebrity era. One of its founders, Jordan Harris, previously founded Virgin Records US and “Rock the Vote”—as well as the “Green Car to the Red Carpet” which delivered Cameron Diaz, Sting, and other celebrities to the Oscars in a Prius.

PlanetTran of Cambridge, Mass., the first fuel-efficient public auto service in the country, has slightly more humble beginnings. R. Seth Riney, a local entrepreneur and Yale graduate, started PlanetTran after making a New Year’s Day resolution in 2003 to question American’s public transportation system. In the company brochure, Riney writes, “I wondered why hired vehicles such as taxis and limousines still were based on traditional platforms: Crown Victoria, Lincoln Town Car. Why are livery fleets, the largest class of public vehicles on city streets, comprised mostly of large, inefficient, gas-guzzling beasts?” Traditional limos commonly get fuel economy in the low teens, while the Toyota Prius can break the 50-mpg mark.

A Chauffeur with a Mission

By achieving remarkably better fuel economy, the operating expense for a hybrid-based limousine is significantly lower than a traditional limo. Y. Fray, chief executive officer of ECOLIMO of Los Angeles, said the Priuses cost less to purchase, maintain, and fuel than her company’s Lincoln Town Cars, which you have to fill up once a day. Filling up the Town Car “costs about fifty bucks every single day,” she said.

Fray, who has been driving a limo for 20 years, said that the recent increases in gas prices, have forced limo companies around the country to charge more. “Clients are paying a fuel surcharge, as much as 5 or 10 % of the hourly rate. Some companies are charging three dollars more per hour.” Instead, Fray passes the hybrid’s fuel savings to the customer. “I don’t charge the rates that big luxury cars charge. Our rates are above a taxi but lower than most black car services.” OZOcar and PlanetTran also offer competitive rates.

So far, the Prius hybrids have not posed a problem in terms of cargo or passenger space. The backseat passenger space is only a couple of inches smaller than a Town Car. According to Fray, most business travelers are single passengers with one piece of luggage. She qualifies clients when the reservation is booked. For larger parties, ECOLIMO offers a Chevrolet Surburban SUV, outfitted to run on compressed natural gas.

The cost savings of hiring a Prius to take you to the airport or to an urgent business meeting may transform hybrid limos from a power play of the elite to a smart dollars and cents decision. Yet, for Fray, it’s not merely about economics. “I show up in the ecolimo, and it raises consciousness. More and more people are realizing that our resources are not infinite. The clients realize that people like me are out there trying to do something positive. It raises awareness.” The long-term vision of Fray and the other hybrid limo entrepreneurs is to have an ecolimo service available in every major city.

> San Francisco is the latest city to add hybrid limo service. Green Car Limo features the Toyota Prius with custom leather interiors.


  • Frank Prilucik

    Can anyone direct me to a company that has hybrid cars to rent in the NY tri-state area ? All the large companies advertise the fact that they are available, but only have one or two available, if that !!

    Thanks, Frank
    legendLimo04@aol.com

  • Nancy and Don

    y,
    You’re so famous now that you’ve forgotten your old friends. Remember when we shared that cave on Kalalou Beach?
    We miss you.

  • Samuel

    Nice Article, for all the readers who travel to DC Virginia or Maryland can now have a Hybrid Car to pick them up from the Airport and to the any of the Airports like DCA Reagan National Airport, IAD Dulles International Airport or BWI Baltimore International Airport. Nations Livery is Limo company that has added 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid Cars.
    We should all support these kind of companies who are trying to make a difference in our environment . Their website is http://www.NationsLivery.com and the number is 202-386-6919 toll free 866-416-0758…

  • LeeMan

    Watch for DRIVENECO coming soon to the NY Tri State area.
    Providing Hybrid Luxury Chauffeur Transportation.
    Call 1 866 99 ECO RIDE (1 866 993 2674)
    or 1 877 WE RIDE ECO (1 877 937 4333)
    to reserve
    Lexus RX 400h SUV Hybrid,
    Lexus GS 450h Sedan Hybrid,
    Mercury Mariner Hybrid,
    Toyota Camry Hybrid

  • IGAL TADJIEV

    Need a hybrid call me!

    Igal Tadjiev
    Prestige Lexus
    1000 Route 17 North
    Ramsey, NJ 07446
    Tel: 201-825-5200 Ext. 6109
    Direct: 201-258-6109
    Fax: 201-825-6619
    Mobile: 305-785-1607
    Email: itadjiev@driveprestige.com

  • Billy

    Looking for a hybrid stretch limousine to purchase ( new or used). Must be able to seat a min of 8 people. Can anyone refer me to a web site, dealer, want ads to find such a car?

  • adam

    LimoRes.net offers worldwide Hybrid limo service

  • Anonymous

    It is widely known that the Automobile Industry is currently undergoing a major reform in its philosophy, technology, and use of energy sources. Toyota and Lexus has embraced the need for innovation with the initiative of building fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly hybrid cars. With that said, Lexus quickly became an Industry Leader with more Hybrid Production Line Vehicles than any other manufacturer, Lexus RX400h, GS450h, and LS600h. Each of these vehicles has increased horsepower, much lower emissions than conventionally fueled vehicles, reduced noise and significantly better fuel economy. Through continuous research and development Lexus Hybrids have constantly been improved in order to take less from the world and give more to the driver and passenger. Our luxury hybrids are all certified as Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles (SULEV) and great care is taken at each step to minimize harm to the environment.

    In today’s market, where increased quality and social responsibility is expected, Lexus Hybrid Vehicles are sure to not only impress clients, but allow them the awareness of giving back to the world with elegance and eco-support.

    If you, or any of your associates, family or friends is considering the acquisition of a Lexus automobile, Hybrid or customary Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV), lease or purchase, I welcome the privilege to handle your account in the most thorough and professional manner that you deserve.

    From purchase to delivery, I will personally handle every detail. Delivery to your home or office, if requested, can easily be arranged. At Prestige Lexus, America’s third largest and most premier Lexus dealership, we promise to not only meet your expectations but to exceed them.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this rather informal note and for the potential consideration that you may afford me in the near future.

    Respectfully,

    Igal Tadjiev
    Sales Consultant
    201-258-6109
    itadjiev@driveprestige.com

  • Chris11

    It’s great to see this movement. As a inhabitant of Washington D.C. I’ve personally seen an increase in hybrids, smart cars, and scooters. There is also a hybrid private driving service for the D.C. area called CoachRider
    http://CoachRider.com/
    Glad to see it in the capital

  • Limo Driver

    We have a number of green options in our limosine service. It’s the new and growing thing. Check us out at:

    http://www.miamifinest.com

    Thanks for caring about the environment and for caring about quality.

  • Limos

    Are you still looking for the stretch hybrid limos?

  • summer

    nice to hear about the the hybrid limos, that really is a nice option to limo ruders.

    http://www.innerauto.com

  • Going Green Limousine

    Hello! Hybrid livery vehicles are increasing, but unfortunately they are still not that commonplace. If you are looking for hybrid transportation in Chicago, we offer full hybrid SUVs for 1-4 passengers and flex-fuels for larger parties. We also have nationwide affiliations, so we may be able to help you secure a hybrid in another state as well. Let us know if we can help!

    http://www.goinggreenlimousine.com

  • Sandy Swiss

    Making limos into hybrids is a great idea. There are so many limos in the ny area that it would better the quality of the air in the city and surrounding areas! The limos at nyc limo service A Stretch Out are quality limos and I use them whenever I can!

  • Carl

    Great idea but with so many limos around I think the next big thing for the industry will be when hydrogen powered limos are unveiled.
    Recently hydrogen powered London minicabs were unveiled they have zero emissions and have a 250 mile range. Here’s some info http://www.carsuk.net/hydrogen-powered-black-cab-hits-london-streets/

  • amos

    Its nice to know about such a thing. It simply amazes me to know the rate at which things change.
    miami limo service

  • amos shute

    The pace at which things change simply amazes me.
    miami limo service

  • Josef Milan

    Very awesome info about limousine. I still here to read your next post. Thank you share this info. Costa Rica Vacation Rentals

  • ahsan

    Will the cars be fuel efficient. I mean will the average miles/liter will be good? cure for herpes

  • buy & selling goods

    great idea. There are so many limos in the ny area that it would better the quality of the air in the city and surrounding areas!buy & selling goods

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  • tapra2

    the largest class of public vehicles on city streets, comprised mostly of large, inefficient, gas-guzzling beasts?” Traditional limos commonly get fuel economy in the low teens, while the Toyota Prius can break the 50-mpg mark.Tech Blog