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Techies 2012 - Innovation Award: Alphabet Alphacity

Date: 21 August 2012

It takes some gall to introduce a completely new concept into the leasing market but that's exactly what Alphabet has done with its latest Alphacity pool car scheme.

The programme aims to modernise company pool cars and provide a more efficient operation by offering a series of leased vehicles (from Alphabet's parent firm BMW) that are accessible via an online self-booking system for employees.

Backed up by a telematics system, the scheme includes keyless access to the cars and a pin number system for employees, which allows the driver to start the lease and brings up a series of questions about the car - damage, fuel level, cleanliness etc - before each trip commences.

Staff can also borrow the vehicles for personal journeys at their own expense, which Alphabet claims can lessen the cost of the scheme for businesses. The firm claims a saving of up to 30% for companies using the scheme.

Highly Commended are Mercedes' Magic Vision Control technology and Citroen's DS5 Hybrid 4. It's currently only available on Merc's flagship SL high-performance convertible, but the Magic Vision Control is bound to filter down to C- and E-class level over time. It consists of a wiper blade that applies washer fluid just in front of the blade lip, which in turn means that no water is splashed onto the screen and the glass is wiped perfectly clean, improving visibility.

Citroen's DS5 Hybrid4 is the first diesel hybrid executive model on the market, promising 200hp, 74.3mpg, 99g/km and 10% BIK - all on a large car with a 100% first year write-down allowance.