BMW and Locog unveil low-CO2 Olympic fleet

view gallery VIEW GALLERY


BMW and the London 2012 organising committee, Locog, yesterday revealed details of the 4,000-strong vehicle fleet the car-maker will be providing as Official Automotive Partner for this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Speaking at BMW’s Marsham Street showroom in central London, officials explained how the cars would be used for a huge range of tasks, from ferrying athletes around the capital to towing boats out of the water at the sailing events in Weymouth.

Setting the tone for the BMW effort is the London Games’ ambition to be the first truly sustainable Olympics. In fact Richard George, LOCOG’s Director of Transport, calls London 2012 a “public transport Games”, and it certainly will be for most of the spectators. But Usain Bolt can’t really be expected to buy himself an Oyster card and catch the tube or a red bus to the 100m finals, and visiting dignitaries need to be able to maintain their dignity as they move between Olympic venues as well - which is where the low-carbon vehicle fleet comes in.

BMW has come up with a carefully selected mix of cars for the Games that have average CO2 emissions in official tests of just 116g/km, and fuel consumption of 64.5mpg. That’s roughly on a par with the figures you’d normally expect of a small runabout like the Ford Ka but the BMW fleet has to  include a number of larger cars and SUVs in order to meet the diverse requirements of the Olympic organisers.

One high-profile contribution comes from the inclusion of 200 electric cars – 40 converted Minis and 160 plug-in ActiveE 1-Series – but range, space and other limitations mean that battery-powered vehicles can only pay a small role in reducing the fleet’s carbon footprint. Those electric BMWs will leave behind a useful piece of post-Olympics legacy though; 120 charging points are being set up at five separate locations and these will be absorbed into the Source London network of plug-in locations once the Games are over. BMW has provided an Olympic electric car before – a converted 1602, the “Schrittmacher” (pace-maker) was used when the Games were held in the company’s home city of Munich in 1972 - but London 2012 will also provide a glimpse of BMW’s electric future, with the highly innovative i3 and i8 models, due to go on sale in the next few years, being shown off in a stylish glassy pavilion in the Olympic park.

The backbone of the fleet, though, will be provided by economical diesel-powered Efficient Dynamics versions of BMW’s standard production 3 and 5-Series saloons. Both cars have the lowest CO2 outputs in their respective classes; 109g/km in the case of the 3 and 119g/km in the case of the 5. Together, these two models will make up more than half of the fleet – 1550 3-Series and 707 5-Series. Also putting in an appearance, albeit in far smaller numbers (just 20 will be on duty) will be the new hybrid version of the 5-Series. That combines electric power with a turbocharged petrol engine to deliver 44.1mpg and 149g/km of CO2 in official tests, and is the first of three hybrids BMW will put on sale this year.

There will also be 200 diesel-powered Mini Countrymans, and a limited number of SUVs – 17 X3s and 10 X5s – will be used for specialised roles such as towing boats and the horse ambulances for the equestrian events. Besides the main car fleet, BMW will provide 25 motorcycles, which will be used to support road-based events such as cycling, and 400 Streetcruiser bicycles, which will help officials and team members follow the rowing events. Finally, the fleet will quietly be rounded out with people-carriers from Citroën, because BMW doesn’t make vehicles of that type itself.

Delivering the official cars for the Olympics will provide plenty of glory for BMW but a couple of potential headaches as well. Former Olympian and triple-jump world record holder Jonathan Edwards explained at the fleet launch how important it was for the transport to run smoothly to get the athletes to their events without undue stress. Once BMW hands the cars over, though, that will mainly be Locog’s job, and they will be relying on a huge army of 7,000 trained volunteer drivers to get competitors and officials to the correct venues on time – no easy task given the complexity of the Olympic sites and the pressures of London traffic, even with the reserved lanes for official vehicles on the Olympic Route Network. After the Games, thousands of cars will be sent back to BMW, which will have to work out how to dispose of them, although the company is saying that they should easily be absorbed in the context of its UK operations, which sell 130,000 new and 95,000 used cars each year.

Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin visits her 1990s work ‘My Bed’ at Tate Britain in London, where it is back on display from today
artsBut how does the iconic work stand up, 16 years on?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

    £40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor