Funeral Industry


The Great Eco-Hearse Experiment – How a Nissan Leaf Conversion Made Headlines

Eco-friendly, electric and hybrid cars have officially gone mainstream thanks to the technological advancements and marketing savvy of companies like Tesla.  A green approach to transportation is now pretty well represented in both passenger cars and public transportation vehicles.  But this green trend hasn’t made much of a change in the world of hearses and funeral cars.

The Converted Nissan Leaf

One UK funeral home, however, has launched an interesting campaign to change that.  Leverton & Sons operates out of North London, placing them at the epicenter of traffic and congestion.  The funeral home also has a reputation for advancing sustainable and environmentally friendly burial options so the idea of an eco-friendly hearse is a natural match.

Leverton & Sons teamed up with Brahms Electric Vehicles to create a fleet of funeral cars and hearses from Nissan ‘Leaf’ models.  The concept was a success and won the company the Best Green Funeral Director Title in 2013 and again in 2017.  They were also shortlisted for the Camden Business Awards ‘Carbon Reduction and Energy Efficiency’ category.

Critical success aside, the enduring popularity of the option has proven there is a market for environmentally friendly options when it comes to funeral transportation.  With the growing popularity of low and zero-emission vehicles, the market for eco-friendly options is clearly thriving.

While this project was an aftermarket modification it sends a clear message to auto makers and funeral car developers:  People want green options even after they’re gone.

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Does In-Dash Funeral Car Technology Distract Drivers?

hearse funeral car Lincoln distracted drivingImagine getting into your funeral car or hearse and typing in the address of a cemetery you’ve never been to before on your in-dash GPS unit.  Your touchscreen interface pops a map and directions for getting to the cemetery from your funeral home. It’s a common occurrence these days but it has spawned an interesting debate.

Does that constitute a driving hazard?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, it could very well be distracting to drivers.

New discussions at the DOT may lead to legislation that requires auto makers to block such technology inside vehicles. But you know as well as we do that in-dash technology isn’t the problem. Many drivers use their cell phones for talking and texting while driving. That is much more harmful than GPS navigation.

Naturally, the automobile industry is challenging the DOTs train of thought. As well it should.

Some in-dash technology can benefit funeral car drivers while conducting their normal business. GPS is one such technology. But what about Internet browsing? What if you have a client ask a question and you want to ensure that the information you provide is accurate? A quick Internet search would solve the problem, right?

Of course, we would caution readers against conducting the search while driving, but who wouldn’t?  Let’s not blame the technology for the irresponsibility of certain drivers – let’s find a way to give people access to technology that makes travel safer while teaching its responsible use.

Forgotten Veterans – The Missing in America Project

Did you know that there are literally thousands of unclaimed urns full of ashes left behind at funeral homes?  That comes out to about 10 percent of the total number of cremations conducted each year.   In many cases, these remains are never reunited with family or loved ones.  Sometimes it’s because a family ends up not being able to pay for the cremation.  Other reasons can include people who were not able to be identified at the time of their death, or those who passed away with no surviving family or friends.

Many people have wondered if it would be possible to find a final resting place for an important segment of uncollected remains – the final remains of veterans.  One nationwide veterans group is trying to do something to identify and claim many of the cremains that came from soldiers who fought for their country.

The Missing in America Project has identified more than 3,000 remains over the past several years.   In some cases, they have been able to get the remains to surviving family members while, in others, fellow servicemen and women have stepped forward to provide a final resting place for their fallen friend.

Quite often, the MIA Project is able to have a full funeral service for veterans once they are identified.  This includes a full funeral car procession and ceremonies related to their branch of the Armed Services.   The Missing in America project works with local funeral homes, social service organizations, veteran’s groups, legions and VFWs.  To learn more about their project or to find out how you can help, check out their home page at



Want to Control Your Hearse Fleet With your Smartphone? There’s an App for That!

Remote control iphone app for funeral hearsesImagine, if you will, being in the middle of a funeral service and you pull out your iPhone. You open up the remote control app you have installed and start one of the hearses in your fleet. Then you push a button and the hearse wheels itself around to the front of the building and stops to wait for the pall bearers to carry the casket to the back of the vehicle. Amazing thought, isn’t it?

Well, you can’t do all of that with your iPhone, but you can start your hearse and control some of the functions on your vehicles with your iPhone.

The technology is courtesy a company called Delphi. Using Bluetooth technology, the company has created an app that allows you to remote start your vehicles through your key fob. You can also unlock doors and operate several other vehicle functions remotely.

This is a huge step forward from yesteryear, huh?

As a funeral director, you are always trying to make your processes more efficient and elegant. Your iPhone can now participate and make that happen for you and your business.

Delphi isn’t even the only company getting into the smartphone apps for car control.  Viper SmartStart, for example, offers remote start, real time tracking and security features which can be useful for funeral directors managing a large fleet with multiple drivers.

The next time you speak to your funeral coach dealer, ask about the iPhone remote control app. Ask if they’ve heard of it. This technology is only bound to get better and that’s something to look forward to.