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BMW i3 Concept
This is the BMW i3, BMW’s electric car due for launch in 2013. BMW’s Steve Chater reckons that 11% of vehicles in the future will be either electric or plug-in hybrids

Blog: RALPH MORTON

THE Increasing cost of fuel is massive challenge to businesses with company cars.

Now there’s an opening statement by Caroline Watson, transport strategy manager at the Energy Saving Trust. “Fuel has increased 18% over last two years and it will continue.”

And that’s whether you get a 3% fuel duty rise in January or not.

Steve Chater, BMW
BMW’s Steve Chater addresses the ICFM conference at the MINI Cowley plant

So what’s the answer?

I’ve been at the ICFM conference today, hosted by BMW at the MINI factory in Cowley, Oxfordshire, debating just that. What is the answer to mobility for businesses and private individuals? It was the key theme of the ICFM conference.

The ICFM – the Institute of Car Fleet Management – is celebrating 20 years, during which time it has trained over 850 candidates in fleet management skills since forming.

“The fleet manager role has changed, it’s disappeared in fact. Gone are the days when it was just the company cars, now it is far more complex,” noted ICFM chairman Roddy Graham in his opening address.

As a small business owner you might wonder at the luxury of having a fleet manager to look after your firm’s company cars. But while this was a conference for industry professionals, there are many decisions that will affect what you drive in the future.

Woman refuelling
The cost of refuelling is becoming scary – prices have reisen 18% in just two years

And fuel will be one of those.

It’s not that car makers aren’t making huge leaps, of course. Steve Chater, BMW’s head of corporate sales, spoke about the difference in BMW cars over the 20 years.

“The BMW 320d EfficientDynamics has CO2 emissions of 109g/km – that’s 103g/km better than its predecessor of 20 years previous.”

It’s also more fuel efficient to the tune of + 40mpg Steve added. “And a stereo is standard!” referring to BMW’s original policy of charging for everything bar the steering wheel.

So that’s massive progress in 20 years. “We’re at the dawn of a new era for mobility with the imminent launch of the BMW i3,” continued Steve.

The BMW i3? It’s an all-electric BWW city car due to be launched next year under the BMW i sub brand.

Electric cars – are they the answer?

Yes…And no, Like all things, there’s no one correct answer. The future of the business cars on your company car policy provided to your company car drivers might be any one of petrol, diesel, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric. Why, it might even be hydrogen powered.

The likelihood is that your company cars may well contain a mix of all of these depending on the needs of your drivers – and the requirements of their jobs.

Do you have a car leasing question?
Feel free to ask us your question

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