The news that BMW has won the bid to become to official vehicle supplier to the 2012 London Olympics is a serious disappointment.
Not because there’s likely to be much wrong with the next-generation 1-series and 3-series, but because the Blue Propeller has succeeded in crowding out a much more innovative rival.
Nissan was one of the 2012 bidders, promising to supply a fleet of 4000 vehicles, at least 2000 of which would have been the Nissan LEAF electric hatch. Had Nissan won, French electricity supplier EDF would have helped install charging points through the capital.
The upshot would have been a huge boost for electric car infrastructure in the capital – a city with some of the worst diesel-fired pollution in Europe.
The infrastructure would have lasted long after the games had departed, opening the way for electric delivery vehicles and taxis as well as releasing 2000 barely-used LEAFs onto the second hand market.
Really? I drive the LEAF prototype last month and it was hugely impressive. Moreover the car’s standard range would have coped with five return journeys from central London to the Olympic site on a single charge.
And with the use of three-phase charging points, the re-charge time would have been just a couple of hours.
Worse still, Nissan is considering building the LEAF in Sunderland, partly because Nissan will be building LEAF batteries at the plant. Let’s hope the chances of building the LEAF in Britain hasn’t been harmed.
So we could have had 2000 UK-built electric vehicles running around at the 2012 games. Indeed, Boris Johnson wanted to see a mass take-up of electric vehicles in 2012, but it seems the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) are making decisions that affect the future of the capital, not the democratically elected London Mayor.
The simple truth is that BMW outbid Nissan to win the deal. LOCOG has traded a fat cash contribution for a once in a generation chance to install an electric vehicle infrastructure.
So much for the 2012 Olympic ‘legacy’.