Check out this car parked in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park (on a street unaffected by Healthy Saturdays or Healthy Sundays).
California “Livery” license plates and the TCP (“Transport Chartered Party“) number sticker indicate this is a limo for hire, and the letter “H” on the license plate and in the car’s model name, GS 450h, means this vehicle is a gas-electric hybrid.
Can you imagine the marketing of a hybrid limo such as this? You no longer have a driver, you have a Eco Chauffeur®. And on that special day:
“Your wedding car need not cost the earth. Enjoy luxurious and stylish wedding travel in the eco-friendly Lexus Hybrid wedding car.”
The problem with all this is that Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology is basically being used to make the car accelerate faster, as
“The only good thing about the electric motor is that it provides extra power when you mash your foot into the carpet. And I’m not sure that was the point.”
The same basic vehicle without the Lexus Hybrid Drive system, called the GS 350, is already as fast as stink. Take one of these non-hybrid, 5-passenger sedans to the racetrack and compare it to the vaunted, two-seat Tesla Roadster, the kind you’re starting to see on Bay Area roads these days. That Tesla isn’t going to outrun you to sixty mph.
When you add in the electric motor to make a GS 450h, you get a car that accelerates even faster. 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds – that will get you to the church on time!
Toyota engineers could have emphasized mileage improvements at the expense of brute force speed, but they chose not to.
Anyway, enjoy your hybrid limo service – the faster you go the faster you save the earth, or something like that.