London 2012 Blowing off the Nissan Leaf
By George Straton
Because it seems that $45 million USD and the ubiquitous “oohs” and “aahs” which accompany the Blue and White Propeller, mixed in with some political fears of failure are precisely what finalized acceptance of BMWs bid to supply the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games with 4000 courtesy vehicles.
You know; the transport for athletes, IOC officials and volunteers. Does BMW seriously expect the investment required by them to become a Tier One “corporate sponsor” will pay off the way it does for another Tier One, McDonald’s? After all McDonald’s serves “Billions and Billions” each year while BMW serves barely over one million. Perhaps BMW’s numbers can swell if it licenses technology and gets another line out of it such as that of the composite-bodied planned Mega City Car.
Yet one cannot help feel that a real opportunity to showcase some truly innovative technology on this global stage was squandered. And what better a stage such as London, brimming with her 12,000,000 C02, NOx and particulate emitting residents, to introduce “to be ready for prime time” electric plug in cars and vans to the world. At least that was the thinking of the other major competing bidder to supply the “Cars for the Games,” Nissan.
BMW’s plan is for Minis (including the Mini E), 1 and 3 series models powered by either conventional fossil fuel systems, or fossil fuel electric hybrid systems, to dominate the London 2012 courtesy car fleet. Rumors abound that the BMW MegaCity, to be developed in both plug-in electric and petroleum-powered forms, may make an appearance. But that appearance will have to be without the 100 fast charge electric charging stations that were part of the Nissan bid.
The LOCOG had [political] fears of the potential event delays which could ensue in the worst-case scenario of a failure of the electric charging grid or some other, as-yet-unimagined, scenario. This, coming from a nation whose government has proposed a 60% reduction in C02 emissions by 2025 and a potential mandate of 80 mpg of vehicular fuel efficiency by that same time. On a continent where the diesel engine may make a quiet exit from small less-expensive cars in 2015, when Euro Level 6 Emissions standards will require reduction of (ozone producing and ozone layer depleting) NOx emissions to 1/5 of their current levels.
Perhaps the time is right for Nissan to make a mad dash to the Rio de Janiero 2016 Olympic Games Organizing Committee.
By the way, does anyone remember the official courtesy cars for the Beijing, Athens or Sydney Olympic Games?
I thought not. At London 2012 and Rio 2016 it is sure to be a different story.
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