BMW Group: putting the ‘i’ in emissions reduction
BMW's head of international corporate sales Christel Reynaerts speaks to FDE about the car company's focus on emissions reduction and, in particular, the launch of the BMW i3, which offers corporate customers solutions for home and public charging as well as add-on mobility and assistance services.
Can you tell us about the key recent fleet developments within BMW?
Christel Reynaerts: In the last few months, we have enhanced our Connected Drive product portfolio. In addition to the comprehensive features relating to driver assistance, safety and office functions, we see this as a key instrument for corporate car fleets to reduce costs and CO2 emissions.
Cost reduction can be achieved by using the shortest and most efficient route provided by our real-time traffic information service. An intelligent lane-departure warning or active cruise control with stop-and-go also provides drivers with effective support at all times. If the worst comes to the worst, Intelligent Emergency Call automatically seeks assistance via the BMW call centre.
Which models are particularly attractive to the fleet manager at the moment?
BMW models such as the BMW 3 Series GT, the 320d Efficient Dynamics models, touring models and the BMW 5 Series are a perfect match for global fleet policies. Fleet managers generally appreciate the fuel efficiency of BMW vehicles and value the overall competitive total cost of ownership (TCO).
What does the new i3 offer the fleet community?
The BMW i3 is the perfect extension to BMW's Efficient Dynamics product portfolio. For their usage profile, the range now provides our customers with the best possible combination of efficient combustion engines, active hybrids and now fully electric vehicles.
The feedback from our customers has been great. The interest in test drives is very high and customers who have already experienced the car have been enthusiastic.
Do you think environmentally conscious drivers want people to notice that their car is different?
Yes, and this is one reason why BMW i has its own distinctive character. Through its colours, motifs and tonality, BMW i expresses energy and vitality. To set it apart from the BMW brand, yet also ensure immediate recognition, a distinctive and striking visual language has been developed. The combination of orange and blue produces a futuristic and unmistakable appearance with considerable aesthetic appeal.
How important is it that the i3 conveys the concept of a clean and green future?
BMW i stands for visionary vehicles and mobility services, inspiring design, and a new understanding of premium that is more strongly defined in terms of sustainability. Innovative new vehicle concepts such as the BMW i3 and the BMW i8 are based on vehicle architecture specially designed for electro-mobility.
Describe new BMW technologies that help fleet managers reduce TCO and CO2 emissions?
BMW Efficient Dynamics are integrated into every model and include the optimisation of petrol and diesel engines, lightweight construction, strong aerodynamics and energy management. In addition, they offer optimisation of conventional engines, hybridisation and electrification of vehicle power trains in the BMW Active Hybrid portfolio and in the BMW i models.
How do you see corporate car fleets evolving over the next few years?
In terms of market development, we will see above average growth rates in China, India, Latin America, Russia and some Asian markets. This will be a key driver for automotive and fleet business development activities in the next year.
Furthermore, 60% of the world's population will live in cities by 2030, leading to a change in customer behaviour in terms of mobility requirements.
And of course, for corporate customers, CO2 emissions are having a direct impact on the running costs of their fleets. The BMW Group already offers 35 BMW and MINI products that have CO2 emissions lower than 120g, in order to meet corporate customer demand. The integration of the zero-emission BMW i3 is the next step in order to offer another option for fleets to reduce their carbon footprint.