With the Olympics only days away, Olympic-branded vehicles have begun appearing on the capital’s streets. Rather than investing only in new trucks and cars, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has decided to emphasize the sustainability focus of the games by including electric vehicles in the official Olympic and Paralympic fleet.
This environmentally-focussed decision is good for Londoners, Olympians, and Olympic guests. There are 200 electric cars in this fleet, all provided by BMW, an Olympic sponsor. There are 160 BMW ActiveE cars and 40 Mini E cars in the Olympic fleet. Both cars have recently undergone field-testing in different locations across the world, including recent tests in the US and the UK. Neither car is available yet for customers in the UK.
These electric vehicles will be used primarily to transport guests and dignitaries between venues, though they may have other duties.
The BMW ActiveE is a 2-door coupe. It accelerates quickly, getting to a speed of 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, and is fun to drive. It can hold up to four passengers and a driver; the boot space has been slightly compromised in order to accommodate the battery, but the back seat remains intact.
The Mini E, an adapted Mini Cooper that can accommodate two people (a driver and a passenger), is quick and quiet to drive. It boasts a quick acceleration (like the ActiveE, it can go from zero to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds), and can travel at speeds of up to 95 mph. The reason why the passengers are limited to two is that the place where the back seat would be is taken up by the car’s battery – a large lithium-ion battery. These batteries can be plugged into all standard outlets, but can also be charged at charging points across the capital.
The Olympic charging points, which began to be installed across London in March of this year, will be incorporated into the Source London network. By next year, this network will boast at least 1300 charge points across London, enabling drivers to recharge their vehicles with ease. And, these new Olympic charge points are very efficient, with a car able to become fully charged in only four hours – significantly quicker than if it was charged at a standard charge point – allowing drivers to save time as well as money. In fact, MINI estimates that you would save about 90 percent of your petrol costs by getting an electric car instead.
Along with being cost-effective, these electric vehicles are also good for the environment, as they vastly reduce emissions. As they do not require petrol, they do not require imported oil for fuel, and they also do not produce exhaust.