FRANKLIN, Tenn – You have never seen anything like it. Inside it's a limo and outside it's a stretched Nissan LEAF. "This is the world's first road-worthy, licensed, street legal electric limousine, and this is it," said Trevor Goulding, director of sales for Embassy Suites Nashville South.
"I don't know how they did it, if they cut a car in half, but it's really interesting and fun that they did," said first-time passenger Krystal Serrano.
The Embassy suites hotel in Nashville, Tennessee needed a new way to shuttle guests. Their typical trip is less than five miles from the hotel. The hotel chain is committed to luxury and going green, so they contracted a company to create a LEAF limo.
"The LEAF will be primarily VIP car service, anybody who is looking for that special treatment to get around in the area," said Goulding.
A company out of Missouri made the modifications. They kept most of the Nissan LEAF's essential parts intact. There is still just one battery pack, but it now sits in the back for balance. They added about 400 pounds in the center of the car to make room for more seating. And they added mirrors, plush leather and cedar paneling, synonymous with luxury limos.
"People can see, hey, look what we can do with this. It's not just a family car. We can turn it into transportation for the masses," said Goulding. The hotel's shuttle driver Phillip Huckelba said he is surprised how well the conversion worked. It fits a total of 8 adults, including the driver comfortably. "I think it will catch on once the word is out there. It always takes one to get something started," said Huckelba.
Many of the hotel's guests have never even been inside an electric car before. Krystal Serrano never had until she rode for the first time in the hotel's LEAF limo. "It feels so smooth. You can't even really hear the engine running, but it wasn't like being in a golf cart either. It was like being in a limousine," said Serrano.
Hotel workers and guests are electrified about what they see as a first glimpse into the future for fully electric luxury excursions.
# # #