Addison Lee and Audi have announced a six-month pilot partnership that will see Audi’s recently launched all-electric luxury SUV – the Audi e-tron – integrated into the Group’s fleet as it moves towards a zero-emissions future.
Addison Lee Group will introduce five e-tron SUVs to its customers via its chauffeur service for a six-month period, providing a unique opportunity for customers, drivers and the business to understand the opportunities and challenges of running a full EV service. The trial will provide operational insights into real-world performance and considerations for an all-electric fleet that will help with next decisions on where to take its fleet in the future.
In readiness for the pilot, Addison Lee Group has worked with Transport for London (TfL) to achieve regulatory compliance. In addition, the Group’s chauffeurs have been trained by Audi’s EV specialists to ensure a seamless passenger experience. Charging has also been a careful consideration, with some chauffeurs having access to charging at home, and others using the public charging infrastructure.
Since 2015, Addison Lee Group has made a range of investments to help reduce congestion and emissions, including a carbon offsetting initiative under the Group’s Greener Future Programme that ensures all UK journeys are carbon neutral. In January 2019, Addison Lee Group announced a landmark £41m investment in 1,200 new VW Sharans, creating a 5,000 vehicle strong fleet compliant with TfL’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) standard, which came into force on 8 April 2019. The Group announced a strategic partnership with self-driving vehicle software company, Oxbotica, in October 2018, with a view to providing customers in London with autonomous vehicle services by 2021.
The pilot announcement comes as Addison Lee Group launches mVentures, the Group’s sustainable mobility innovation arm. mVentures will bring together all of Addison Lee Group’s industry partnerships, accelerator and incubator mobility projects, and pilots within one dedicated unit, with the ultimate objective of improving the sustainability and accessibility of urban mobility services. mVentures will build on the mobility focused projects Addison Lee Group is already engaged with, in collaboration with a number of city transport authorities, innovation bodies and commercial organisations, focused on building a sustainable and zero emissions future for mobility services.
Andy Boland, CEO of Addison Lee Group, said: “Our partnership with Audi demonstrates the power of combining two large scale, established and premium brands to make a significant and positive impact on cities and air quality. We are delighted to join forces with such a progressive automotive manufacturer that shares our commitment towards a zero emissions future.
“Following our achievement of ULEZ compliance for the whole Addison Lee Group’s passenger fleet, this partnership is the next major step on the road to achieving a 100% zero emissions capable fleet. This goal is further enhanced through the launch of mVentures, which will now provide a central function within our business for the development, exploration and application of new, sustainable and environmentally progressive mobility technologies for Addison Lee Group services.
“Integrating electric vehicles into transport networks will be central to helping cities hit air quality targets and reduce emissions. As our partnership with Audi and our wider low carbon initiatives demonstrate, we are committed to playing our part in helping to rapidly improve air quality in London and across the UK.”
Andrew Doyle, Director of Audi UK, said: “The e-tron is the perfect catalyst for the transition into electrification for a global ground transportation business like Addison Lee Group – its incredible refinement and performance suggest that it is something out of the ordinary, but in terms of usability, quality, design and engineering it will be a home-from-home for anyone familiar with a modern-day Audi. I am confident that it will slot seamlessly into the chauffeur transport role for drivers and passengers alike.”