London Olympic Committee: EVs Are Gimmicks

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
london olympic committee evs are gimmicks

We didn’t want a big fleet of electric vehicles. We’re only just over two years or so away from the games and time is running out to create a viable network. Many of the vehicles will be used for around 18 hours a day. It’s hard graft, and we knew BMW could supply the vehicles to meet these demands.”

Paul Deighton, CEO of the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) explains to Autocar why the games won’t be relying on electric vehicles in 2012. Nissan had presented a bid to be the games’ official vehicle supplier which proposed using Leaf EVs for over half the planned fleet. A “small proportion” of BMW’s winning fleet proposal will be electric MINI Es, and all proposals were required to achieve a fleet average of 120g/km of CO2. But that hasn’t stopped Nissan from getting petulant.

Nissan spokesfolks tell Autocar:

As part of our proposition, more than half of the vehicles we were going to supply would have been Leafs. Through LOCOGs decision, London has missed out on a significant opportunity to build confidence in electric vehicles in the UK. We have the vehicle and we had the chance to do something with it in the UK.

Nissan reps went on to say that the chances of quickly implementing an electric infrastructure in the UK have taken “several steps back.” London Mayor Boris Johnson, who has committed to installing 25,000 EV charging stations across the city by 2015, tried to see the upside.

We hope that BMW, through this sponsorship agreement, will take the opportunity to demonstrate their long term commitment to electric vehicles and showcase their new MegaCity [aka BMW’s long-rumored Neo-Isetta EV] car at the 2012 Games.

In an industry that always has something around the next corner, it’s interesting to see a window emerge for the viability of electric vehicles. After all, if the Olympics thought an EV-heavy fleet was practical, they’d have done it. Having attended an Olympic conference on sport and the environment (don’t ask…), I can say there’s not an eco-gimmick that PR-happy organization won’t try. The city of London was behind the idea. Unless BMW put a 7-series in every LOCOG member’s driveway, Nissan’s EVs simply weren’t up to snuff.

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  • Mtymsi Mtymsi on Nov 20, 2009

    Just further proves the point that EVs are a long ways away from replacing ICE vehicles. Hybrids are ready to gain considerable marketshare as the price comes down and more models are brought to market. EVs are a considerable way off from being a practical alternative.

  • HerrKaLeun HerrKaLeun on Nov 20, 2009

    People on both sides always make the mistake of thinking EVs would or wouldn't replace ICE. There will be along time where EVs and ICE will coexist (possibly in hybrids too) and more and more people will have EVs for short commutes, and ICE for long distance. Hybrids being the middle. It is possible EV's with range extenders (which somehow are hybrids... since the Prius can drive like and EV for short distance too) will dominate the market at some time. Anyone saying EVs will never be important, or EVs will take over the world is way off center (literally). In Europe (where OSHA actually means something more than investigating an accident) all indoor forklifts and indoor industrial vehicles are electric and on duty all day. They just recharge them whenever they park in the factory. whoever they pick as a supplier depends on who pays them the most money. The Olympics have nothing to do with sports. whoever believes the Olympics has something to do with hones sport and is not about the money, also believes Detroit was bailed out to safe the environment and American jobs.