A Lexus full hybrid LS 600h L Landaulet featuring a one-piece, transparent polycarbonate roof will serve as the official Royal Wedding car on the occasion of the marriage of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco to Ms. Charlene Wittstock on July 2, 2011.
Equipped with Lexus Hybrid Drive, Prince Albert’s LS 600h L, the Lexus flagship, generates significantly lower CO2, NOx and particulate emissions than any comparable car.
The more than 2,000-hour conversion project was a collaboration between Belgian coachbuilders Carat Duchatelet and Lexus engineers based in Brussels.
The conversion process began with computer-aided design calculations, simulations and 3-D modelling. The reinforcement of the bodyshell required applications of honeycomb structures, Kevlar and carbon fibre technology, in order to maintain the vehicle’s chassis stiffness and torsional rigidity following the removal of the roof and pillars.
Parts fabricated from composites require high temperatures for curing. These components were literally ‘cooked’ onto the bare chassis in a specially prepared oven. As a result, much of the vehicle first had to be completely dismantled, involving the stripping out of some 20,000 mechanical parts, electronic components and interior features and upholstery.
Painting and polishing was a key phase before re-assembly. The Royal Wedding LS 600h L is finished in Midnight Blue livery, which was applied manually using several coats of a bespoke, environmentally-friendly water-based paint.
The transparent roof is a single, lightweight polycarbonate shell, just eight millimeters thick and weighing only 26 kilograms. Fixed to the body of the Lexus through two intermediary parts, it will allow perfect visibility from both inside and outside the vehicle.
On the day of the wedding, the Landaulet LS 600h L will be used by the royal couple to tour the Principality after the ceremony. The tour will bring them from the Palace on the Rocher down to the harbour, and then along Boulevard Albert I up to the Sainte-Devote Church where, as is the tradition, the princess will leave her bridal bouquet to the waiting Monegasques.
For most of this tour, the vehicle will operate in full zero-emission mode, driving under electric-motor power alone, hereby reaffirming Lexus Hybrid Drive’s environmental credentials.
With the end of the celebrations, the unique Lexus Landaulet will be displayed first at the Media Centre and subsequently at the Oceanographic Museum, where visitors will be able to view a remarkable reminder of an exceptional occasion.