The electric BMW i3, shown here as a coupe concept, will be launched later this year (Photo: BMW)
BMW's is stepping up efforts to include electric vehicles in corporate fleets.
Alphabet International, the leasing and business mobility arm of the German premium car maker, is rolling out a program called AlphaElectric that provides a framework for integrating EVs into corporate fleets.
"Every fleet has the potential to use electric vehicles, for example in service and delivery vehicles in cities or as pool vehicles," said Marco Lessacher, head of Alphabet.
Business fleet sales account for roughly half of BMW's annual European sales and developing this market for electric vehicles is essential if the brand is going to sell larger volumes of EVs. BMW is launching its first full electric vehicle, the i3 city car, later this year. A second i brand vehicle, the i8, will come to market at a later date.
Lessacher said in a press release that the inclusion of EVs in fleets will also provide an easy way for people to experience electric mobility without having to buy an EV. "You can get to know electric propulsion and try it out," he said.
Alphabet doesn't just provide a vehicle, but offers a full package that includes all service, a battery charging solution and a range of other services.
The AlphaElectric program has three steps: First, the company analyses a customer's "mobility profile," which helps determine what kind of electric vehicle he needs. Then, it determines what charging infrastructure is most appropriate. And finally, a package is agreed and Alphabet takes care of administration and installation. A final agreement can also include a long-distance driving option with a conventionally powered car.
BMW substantially boosted its multi-brand activities in fleet management and corporate sales in 2011, when it acquired the leasing arm of Dutch bank ING for 700 million euros. Alphabet announced in February that it had more than 500,00 cars under management in 19 countries, making it one of the top four business mobility providers in Europe.