They may be painted the customary black, but why shouldn't hearses be green?
Most people take their final journeys in hearses based on large luxury sedans, usually Cadillac or Lincoln models in the U.S.
But a U.K. funeral home has teamed with an aftermarket company to create a more efficient and eco-friendly alternative.
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Leverton & Sons offers patrons what it calls the "Eco-Hearse," which is a converted Nissan Leaf electric car.
While not the only unusual Leaf conversion out there, the hearse is certainly one of the most ambitious.
The casket is placed on a motorized deck that takes up the entire passenger's side of the car, meaning the driver essentially sits next to the deceased.
The passenger's-side doors are replaced with glass, to let bystanders view the casket.
A structural beam and airbag sensor were left in place to provide side-impact protection, according to Brahms Electric Vehicles Ltd, which performed the conversion.
Brahms has built three Leaf hearses, selling two while keeping the third as a demonstrator.
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All three donor cars were bought used, as the average U.K. price for a used Leaf with 10,000 miles on its odometer is around one-third the price of a new one, according to Brahms' Andrew Briggs.
Nissan Leaf hearse
The lower cost is actually as much of a factor for funeral directors as is the Leaf's green image, Briggs said.
A Leaf hearse costs about 32,000 pounds ($40,000), compared to a price of roughly £120,000 ($150,000) for Jaguar or Mercedes-Benz hearses typically used in the U.K.
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That low purchase price, along with the reduced operating costs that come with an electric car, have attracted interest in the Leaf hearse so far, Briggs said.
He also noted that funeral attendees may also appreciate the Leaf's compact proportions and its modern styling, which marks quite a shift from the more baroque and "depressing" look of traditional hearses.
In addition to the Leaf hearse, the Brahms company had previously built a prototype plug-in hybrid hearse, based on a Mercedes-Benz E-Class station wagon (a model not offered in North America).
The company plans to continue doing Leaf hearse conversions. It expects the next vehicle it builds to be based on a new car, rather than a used one.
Green hearses such as this one would seem to be the perfect solution for people who want to minimize their carbon footprint—even while covering their last mile en route to the grave.
[hat tip: Brian Henderson]