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17th November 2021

Coleman Milne Steps Up the Pace Towards an Electrified Future

During the industrial revolution the internal combustion engine paved the way for mass mobility and the steadily rising exchange of people and goods worldwide and has powered hearses for over 100 years. Despite its astonishing efficiency, it appears this engine technology could be on its last lap and the funeral automotive sector is fast approaching a time of upheaval and extraordinary change.

The Earth is warming, and urgent action is required by all nations to bring climate change under control. In a drive to cut global emissions, global governments declared at Cop26: “Automotive manufactures will be required to reach 100% zero emission new car and van sales in leading markets by 2035 or earlier.” Mercedes, Ford, and General Motors have immediately committed to this date and Coleman Milne is ahead of the game in securing a suitable and workable solution.

As all funeral vehicles are converted from standard road cars that need significant modifications to achieve the size, presence, aesthetics, and weight carrying capacity required for a hearse or limousine, careful selection of the correct base vehicle to build upon is essential.

Coleman Milne is, without doubt, the industry forerunner in sustainable fleet manufacture. Having already developed the Mercedes plug-in hybrid hearse, which has been built, tested, is on the road and a proven success.

This reduced emission vehicle has everything, and more, required of a classic funeral fleet in terms of size, capacity, and stature with the added benefit of operation in a completely silent and much more respectful way. Couple this with dynamic Mercedes technology and a unique user experience and we are proud to state with certainty that this vehicle is the top of class right now in every standard.

The Plug-in hybrid hearse and limousine combination will probably be the last in the line of fossil fuel dependent funeral fleets. The emerging technology will provide a stepping-stone to all future carbon neutral offerings and will set the benchmark for electric vehicle operation and useability.

In light of the climate crisis, traditional internal combustion engines are already starting to be phased out and replaced by electric battery power. At this time, almost every car manufacturer has developed an electric vehicle in their range and several global projects are underway to make electric vehicle batteries safer, more powerful, cheaper, faster charging and easier to recycle.

This is a rapidly expanding and developing market, reflected by the array of new EV models being seemingly launched by the week. Progress has only been slowed slightly by the pandemic and the world shortage of semi-conductors.

The electric vehicle revolution is upon us but as the ever-present coverage in the news media continually highlights, the charging infrastructure is under capacity. Over the next 10 years we’re going to see a large increase in the number of electric vehicles. With them will come the need for a public charging network that’s over 10 times what it is today.

It is inevitable that a fully electric hearse and limousine will become standard in our range. We have already made solid headway, learned valuable lessons, and mastered new techniques as we engineered and developed the Mondeo based Re-gen Hybrid Norwood and Rosedale range, followed by the Mercedes Plug-in Hybrid and our course, the UK’s first fully electric full-size hearse -the Tesla Model S based Wisper hearse.

Achieving all the benefits of each of them will be the real trick and to this end we are already working our R&D team as never before. As the images illustrate, nothing is off the table.

Our links with Ford go back to the 1960’s and Coleman Milne have expertly engineered these vehicles to provide the majority of funeral cars in the UK. However, achieving the perfect balance of style, size, capacity and, of course cost may require several variations on this theme. Coleman Milne’s commitment to investment and staff training ensures that we are at the forefront of the latest advances in electrification knowledge and technologies, helping to usher in an electric future.