Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Fans are being encouraged to take public transportation around London when the Olympics begin later this month.But athletes and other various VIPs will be riding in style thanks to a 4,000-vehicle fleet of BMWs.
BMW was named the official vehicle sponsor of the Games way back in 2009, and they are promising that this year’s fleet is the most eco-friendly in Olympic history.
Much of the fleet will be used to drive athletes and dignitaries to the events, and the city has even set up reserved lanes so they can beat the traffic.
But some of the fleet will also be used as assistance vehicles in various competitions:
- SUVs will tow boats after the sailing events.
- BMWs will be used as horse ambulances at the equestrian events.
- BMW bikes will be used to follow the rowing events from the side of the river.
The decision to bring the fleet to London has been criticised by some ardent environmentalists, who argue that importing the cars from Germany is wasteful, the number of cars is unnecessary, the vehicles will be used to transport dignitaries rather than athletes, and it would have been more environmentally-conscious to use local car rental companies.
But BMW says the fleet is the most environmentally friendly of its kind. About 2,250 of the vehicles will be diesel-powered, “EfficientDynamics” versions of the 3- and 5-series BMWs, which have the lowest CO2 emissions in their respective classes.
In addition, the fleet will include 200 electric cars, for which 120 permanent charging stations will be built around the city. 400 bicycles are involved as well.
In total, the fleet will get 10 more miles per gallon than the standard UK car, according to the BBC.
Volkswagen sent a similar fleet to China when they were the official vehicle sponsor of the 2008 Olympics. But they were dethroned by BMW this time around.
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