In December this year, all eyes will be fixed on Copenhagen as the city hosts the crucial UN Climate Change Conference (COP15), at which the world's nations are set to hammer out a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. The event gives Denmark an unprecedented opportunity to highlight its ambition to become a global centre of environmental innovation.
One of the many players that is seizing this opportunity is leasing and car rental company Sixt Danmark, which will use COP15 as a test bed for electric cars in the car rental industry, reports financial daily newspaper Børsen. Director and owner of Sixt Danmark Henrik Isaksen told Børsen that he plans to provide up to 50 electric cars, including marques like Mini, Smart, Think and Mitsubishi, which can be rented out to hotel guests in Copenhagen. "It will be the biggest real-time test of electric cars in Denmark up to now," comments Isaksen.
The aim is to gain experience of how to handle electric cars in a rental process, which includes issues such as battery charging, information to customers so they don't get stranded if their trip is longer than the range covered by the battery charge, and internal procedures. "Now we also have to incorporate charging time in our processes," says Isaksen.
Sixt Danmark is collaborating with a number of hotels and Copenhagen Airport on the project. Marriot Hotel Copenhagen is one of the partners, and according to sales and marketing director Daniel Kipping, the hotel is taking several 'green' steps in association with COP15, and the electric car project suits this strategy very well.
"It is a learning process for us at the hotels. The typical businessman has meetings within a radius of 50 kilometres - otherwise he would not choose a hotel in Copenhagen," says Kipping. The typical driving pattern matches well with electric cars. Most hotel guests naturally return in the evening and the electric cars can then be charged up again overnight.