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OLYMPIC FLEET: BMW keeping the Games on track

Date: 29 May 2012

The Olympic Games arrives in London this summer and requires a fleet that can keep the show on the road. Jack Carfrae and Paul Barker reveal the vehicles that official automotive partner BMW will supply for the task

BMW has revealed the cars that will form the majority of the 4000-strong fleet supporting this summer's Olympic Games.

Dubbed the most sustainable Games to date, much of the emphasis for the fleet working the biggest event on the planet is on environmental friendliness, hence the liberal use of clean diesels and alternative fuel vehicles.

The bulk of the fleet for the London Olympics will be made up of 3- and 5-series saloon models, which together total 2250 cars (see table below). These will be the diesel-powered 320d and 520d saloons Efficient Dynamics versions, the cleanest in their respective model ranges at 109g/km and 119g/km respectively.

Electric vehicles are also included, in the shape of the Active E (an electric version of the 1-series that's been on trial in Germany) and the Mini E (which has been on trial in the UK for several months). London mayor Boris Johnson has targeted 5% of London's vehicles being electric by 2020, and BMW?has exceeded that figure with 6% with the Olympic fleet being EVs. GE and EDF will provide a charging infrastructure for the electric vehicles, whose main duties will consist of ferrying passengers within the Olympic Park.

Commendable though EVs are, BMW's corporate operations manager, Steve Chater admits they're better suited to light, local duties than heavy, round-the-clock work at venues outside the capital: "A lot of the vehicles will be running 24 hours a day during the Games, but EVs wouldn't work in this way at all of the venues, especially those outside London. However, the rest of the fleet is totally relevant to make it the most sustainable in the history of the Olympic Games."

Although not previously known for its hybrid cars, BMW will roll out its first such model as part of the Olympic fleet. The Active Hybrid 5 combines an electric motor with a petrol engine for a joint 340hp power output and 0-62mph time of less than six seconds, and offers 149g/km and more than 44mpg.

Three of the models - the 320d and 520d Efficient Dynamics along with the Active Hybrid 5 - are clean enough to qualify for the Euro6 emission regulations, which aren't due to come into force until September 2014 and which focus on NOx emissions rather than CO2 output.

In addition to providing transport for athletes, officials, media and other personnel involved, BMW was required by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to ensure that its fleet emits no more than 120g/km across the board.

According to Chater, the firm was able to better that figure: "BMW will actually exceed that 120g/km target and improve on it. Even when you take into account the bigger vehicles that will be provided that don't sit within LOCOG's target, we'll even beat it with them. That was one of the challenges when LOCOG were going out to find a partner, that we could meet those emissions targets but also really show the focus on sustainability."

The emissions figure of the BMW and Mini fleet at the Games has been confirmed at just 116g/km.

The bigger vehicles Chater refers to are made up of vans, people carriers and minibuses. As BMW doesn't produce such vehicles, these will be supplied by Citroen, which won the contract to supplement BMW when it was put out to tender. The larger minibuses and LCVs aren't included in the 120g/km overall emissions target.

While they don't count towards the overall fleet figure, there will also be 400 BMW bicycles at the Games, plus a new electric push bike known as the Pedelec will be employed.