Sunday 3rd March 2024
Durbar Marg, Kathmandu

Hardly a day goes by without a major new announcement and very positive press commentary on a new executive or sports electric car.

Yet on the whole, these models are making only a relatively minor impact in the luxury limousine hire business. Why is that?

Green credentials

Contrary to what you may believe, most chauffeur-driven limousine hire providers are extremely environmentally aware and keen to do their bit for the planet.

It goes without saying that most of them are also very interested in the electric vehicles. You can be sure that if a variety of circumstances came to fruition, electric vehicles would be taken up enthusiastically by this sector of the marketplace.

It’s also true that these vehicles have improved out of all recognition over the last five years or so. For example, the executive model from TESLA offers acceleration, speed and even a total range that compares very favourably to other conventionally powered executive limousine models from other manufacturers.

Yet for the typical provider of limo hire services, there continues to be a range of inhibitors that are largely preventing a large scale take-up of this potentially exciting technology.

Parts infrastructure

Until such time as exclusively electric models become much more widespread throughout the world, there must inevitably remain some questions over parts and servicing. One of the beauties of electric cars is that they, in theory, have fewer mechanical components to go wrong but when one does, nobody will want to hear that their vehicle is going to be off the road for a week or more waiting for a spare part to arrive from the other side of the globe.

A related problem arises from concerns about the expertise available to resolve problems with electric vehicles. Many distributors may have excellent networks of very well-trained engineers and mechanics who understand the science of these new cars but in many cases those networks are concentrated in and around the major conurbations.

If your vehicle is being used to travel long distances into more rural locations then nobody would want to take the risk of being unable to find a local garage that knew anything about their vehicle and its technology.

Charging

Although huge progress is being made in this area, it still remains an issue. Some electric vehicles that are visually indistinguishable from conventional luxury limousines still require several hours of connection to a source of mains electricity in order to recharge their batteries once depleted.

There is work underway with fast-charge systems using high voltage mains input and even instant power pack swap-out that will be done in garages on the same basis as filling up your tank with fuel. Nevertheless, at the time of writing, most vehicles of this nature still assume that you’ll be able to plug the batteries into a mains source for several hours when your reserves are low.

Now in theory, that could be achieved with simple planning. You just organise your day meticulously so that with perhaps a range of 100 kilometres left in your battery, you just end the day and plug your vehicle in overnight.

That’s fine and dandy in theory but if you consider a typical luxury car hire business, there may be a high degree of unpredictability about some of their days. So, if your clients ask for a sudden emergency extension to their hire and to be driven somewhere else, saying “no” because you have to take the car back home for a recharge is likely to prove to be a business showstopper. aston martin for sale

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