Rose's aren't green
13 June 2007
The Insider is a fleet manager with years of invaluable experience
Ringmasters BMW and M&S through its chief exec Stuart Rose are staging a stunt, not saving the world
So I see Britain's Greenest Company Boss (TM) is finally about to take delivery of Britain's Greenest Company Car (TM also), which follows from my jottings a couple of weeks ago, when news broke that eco-focused M&S boss Stuart Rose had two Bentleys. His excuse was that he was waiting for his hydrogen-powered BMW 7-series to arrive.
Well, it now has, but I'm not sure his eco-fleet award is in the bag just yet. Rose apparently did get rid of his Bentley Silver Spur, keeping his Continental GT for playtime. But the saloon was replaced by a regular BMW 7-series, which in ecological terms is like swapping your Uzi for an AK-47.
But that's just the drum roll for the main event: taking delivery of the hydrogen-powered 7-series. It's a regular V12 fed with hydrogen instead of petrol, meaning that Stuart Rose's commute will be less harmful than if he'd picked a Ford Ka.
It's also, as every fleet manager working in the 21st century will know, a load of old hooey. For a start Rose is only getting his car for "two weeks to a month", as reported by BusinessCar in the previous issue. I know BMW is just trialling these, but that's like saving the planet by hiring a wind turbine for the weekend. Especially as the car has to be filled up at the country's only working hydrogen station in Wembley (now there's a restrictive fuel policy).
“Rose's Continental GT was replaced by a regular BMW 7-series, which in ecological terms is like swapping your Uzi for an AK-47.”
Secondly, you only need to attend one green-themed fleet conference to know BMW's system is Betamax to fuel-cells' VHS. While everyone else's prototypes are using hydrogen in a gas form, BMW has gone with liquid; chilled to bone-freezing levels and dispensed via horrendously expensive robotic filling stations.
Ah but, I can hear our marketing department exclaim, both BMW and to M&S will be linked in the minds of the general public with greenness and can-do environmentalism. I agree, and no doubt Grouty (my boss) would love to see his fat frame immortalised in press shots behind the wheel of one, but since I'm anonymous here I might as well point out the hypocrisy.
There's a driver here who gets ribbed mercilessly for his Vauxhall Vectra 1.8 SRi, a nice, slow family runabout posing as a touring car. Nobody's fooled. No fleet manager with the time to follow this shenanigan will be fooled either, but there's a danger that a lunch-break skim of the headlines will have people thinking Rose and M&S are behaving terrifically green. They're not. The eco-fleet award is still wide open.