One of the Olympic Mini MINIs next to a big sibling (Photo : BMW AG)
As Official Automotive Partner to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, BMW supplies many of the vehicles that make the games possible.
Comprising the Olympic fleet are160 BMW ActiveE's and 40 MINI E's. The all-electric vehicles conduct athletes and Olympic officials; and took part in the Olympic Torch Relay convoy that carried the flame around the UK. They will fulfill similar duties in the Paralympic Torch Relay to be conducted throughout the UK's capital cities at the end of the games.
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Now, BMW vehicles also carry the athletes' equipment.
Spectators watching the track and field event this weekend will have noticed three "Mini MINIs" in the Olympic Stadium, carrying javelins, discuses, hammers and shots back from the field to the throwing area. The cars are radio-operated and are approximately a quarter of the size of full-scaled Mini models.
The Mini MINIS are decorated with the same livery as other fleet vehicles.
"The MINI team was thrilled to be given this challenge to develop a vehicle with such an important and high profile role during the Olympic and Paralympic Games," Dr Juergen Hedrich, Managing Director of the MINI Plant Oxford, said in a statement. "I know that everybody was inspired by the challenge and the knowledge that these models will be seen in action by millions of people around the world."
BMW says that the cars were built to specifications agreed upon with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to ensure that they would be a successful time-saving device during the games, and not merely a cute diversion.
The cars cover a little over three miles a day in four-hour shifts across nine days of Olympic and nine days of Paralympic competition. They are capable of carrying loads of nearly 18 pounds that can take the form of a single hammer, discus or shot, or two javelins.
They are powered by batteries that can run for roughly 35 minutes, and have a remote control range of roughly 328 feet. It takes 80 minutes to fully recharge them.