London’s 2012 Olympic organising team have claimed it was never their intention for electric cars to appear at the games on a large scale.
London 2012 had widely been expected to be a launch pad for the capital to create an electric infrastructure and a lasting legacy for electric cars, encouraging their uptake and getting them on the road in large volumes.
But Paul Deighton, chief executive of London’s organising committee, said time was against the capital if it wanted to create an electric network in time for the games.
“We didn’t want a big fleet of electric vehicles,” Deighton told Autocar. “We’re only just over two years or so away from the games and time is running out to create a viable network.”
BMW has been chosen as the supplier of more than 4000 vehicles for the games, but only a small proportion of these are likely to be electric. The Mini E will be used at the games, while BMW’s sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson said the firm’s MegaCity electric project could spawn a usable vehicle in time for 2012.
Deighton said London had never claimed the games would predominantly use electric cars. He argued the only firm commitment was to make the average CO2 emissions of the fleet less than 120g/km.
“Many of the vehicles will be used for around 18 hours a day,” he said. “It’s hard graft, and we knew BMW could supply the vehicles to meet these demands.”
Lord Sebastian Coe, the figurehead of the bid, said a great deal of embarrassment would be caused if the London fleet were to fail to meet the task.
“This is one of the key logistical areas of the games,” said Coe. “We have to get it right or risk spoiling the games for a lot of people.”
When asked about why BMW was chosen, Coe said: “We made a very firm and strict emissions target. With BMW, this will be met. What type of cars will be used wasn’t a key part of the planning, although we want to be projecting the right image.”