2012 London Olympics: Day 10 – BMW MINI Goes Mini’er

BMW is using electric mini MINIs to deliver equipment during the Track and Field events at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

The BMW Mini just shrunk for the 2012 London Olympics.

BMW is the “Official Automotive Partner to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.” So, as you walk the streets of London, specially painted Olympics M3s, M5s and such speeding tastefully down every specially dedicated Olympic lane.

The BMW Olympic fleet also includes a good pile of electric vehicles to stay on the green side. There are 160 1 Series ActiveE models and 40 MINI Es are being used for duties including running athletes around before they run around and transporting equipment.

However, this week BMW introduced a new electric vehicle that no human being – athlete or otherwise – will ever drive. The Mini MINI is a “specially developed and designed radio controlled electric car” used during the Games inside the Olympic Stadium to move javelins, discuses, hammers and shots back from the field to the throwing area.

According to BMW, Mini MINIs can:

  • Carry a load of up to 8kg; a single hammer, discus or shot or two javelins.
  • Be operated with a simple control system requiring minimum technical support.
  • Be powered by batteries that can sustain 35 minutes of continuous usage with a radio control range of approximately 100 meters and be fully re-charged in 80 minutes.

The cars are roughly a 25% the size of a full grown MINI and carry the athletic equipment inside, accessible through the little sunroof. They’re all blue and feature the same Games paint job as the street-ready official fleet vehicles.

They’re made of a lightweight composite material body shell with a detailed exterior design including door handles, mirrors, wheel arch finishers, number plates, windscreen wipers and functioning headlights. The fully electric, zero emission vehicles even come with duel vented disc brakes, heavy duty shock absorbers and specially designed grass tires front and rear built to scale.

They don’t come with a mini pretentious graphic designer driver from Soho who believes he’s saving the planet.

BMW says the Mini MINIs will “save valuable time during competition.” So, that’s no more time wasted by a human carrying a javelin across a field. I wasn’t aware that was a major Olympian inconvenience. Plus, it probably gave some old guy a job. Now we have a MINI Mini instead. (Of course, this is a test run for bigger, more essential uses in future.)

Three Mini MINIs will be deployed and run by Games Makers assigned and trained for duty. They were designed and built to a specification agreed with London Olympics official to make sure they were safe for on-field duty.

Each of the three Mini MINIs are supposed to run around for more than 6,000 meters per day in four-hour shifts across nine days of Olympic and nine days of Paralympic events.

They’re already in use out there during the Track and Field events – running back and forth like Mouse Droids. No javelin-related mini injuries have been reported.