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Vauxhall/Opel to unveil two-seater EV Concept

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September 12, 2011

Vauxhall/Opel will reveal an interesting new concept that blends elements of an electric c...

Vauxhall/Opel will reveal an interesting new concept that blends elements of an electric car and a motorbike

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Vauxhall/Opel will reveal an interesting new concept that blends elements of an electric car and a motorbike this week at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The vehicle is still unnamed, but the GM subsidiary describes it as a "production potential" concept that "could revolutionize" urban transport, though just how is left unexplained at the moment.

Aimed at the scooter demographic of young drivers and those strapped for cash, the concept is a low-riding electric vehicle with a tandem two-seater arrangement. It has a top speed of 75 mph (120 km/h) and a maximum range on one battery charge of around 60 miles (100 km) at an estimated running cost of one euro per charge.

As part of its appeal to younger customers, Vauxhall/Opell hinted at a version limited to 30 mph (45km/h) more suited to the sixteen-year old crowd.

At one third the weight of a standard motor car (approximately 700 lbs or 310 kg), there aren't any details about the concept's drive train, but Vauxhall/Opel's claim that it was "inspired" by Vauxhall/Opel's Ampera suggests that there may be some hybrid element involved.

Vauxhall/Opel EV will unveil an interesting EV concept this week in Frankfurt

Though its design is called "radical looking", the teardrop shape bears a definite resemblance to concepts such as the BMW i1, the Nissan Land Glider, the single seat Honda 3RC and also the ZAP Alias. This indicates that the motor industry is not only interested in electric vehicles, but in a new line-blurring class of sub-sub-compact cars - a category that we've long seen as playing a key role in the future of urban transport.

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
12 Comments

Yes please! These vehicles are LONG overdue... It always amazes me on my way to work seeing all these 1.5 tonnes+ cars being driven by a single 80kg person. All that wasted energy and space to power a big metal cage that's 20 times heavier than the object being moved. It just doesn't make sense.

Facebook User
12th September, 2011 @ 05:01 pm PDT

Looks cool. It will never see the light of day in the US though, due to outdated and dumb no restraint laws. These laws make American cars much heavier than they really need to be. It Opel wants it to fly in the US, it will need to lose a rear wheel in order to qualify as a motorcycle. Anything with four wheels here in the states, is a car.

VoiceofReason
12th September, 2011 @ 07:07 pm PDT

Max Powers - September 12, 2011 @ 05:01 pm PDT

Most people do not have the money to buy a different car, for each load of passengers they will need to carry, so the one they buy suits the maximum load, even though that means that they spend most of their driving time alone in their multipassenger car.

Slowburn
12th September, 2011 @ 09:08 pm PDT

I like these single seater and 2 inline type cars, I am constantly annoyed at having to drag around 3 or 4 extra seats that I never use. But, I am annoyed that car companies keep teasing us with these concepts but not a single one has gone into production.

Also, the speed restricted version, I dread the thought of being stuck behind one of those.

Womp
12th September, 2011 @ 10:26 pm PDT

@Max Powers: Are you joking? The main reason 80Kg people drive SUVs is for protection. In a crash with a large vehicle, a tiny vehicle gets crushed.

666gm666
12th September, 2011 @ 10:51 pm PDT

"Also, the speed restricted version, I dread the thought of being stuck behind one of those."

It'd be no harder to overtake than a speed/power-restricted moped or scooter, which is what kids in a lot of European countries have to start on.

Keith Reeder
13th September, 2011 @ 12:11 am PDT

What else is new? The problem with all these things (just like Carver or Spyder) is that production versions end up costing more than medium size cars while lacking the practicality or safety.

vv_vv
13th September, 2011 @ 01:43 am PDT

How cool is this two seater electric vehicle for the city. Throw in free city parking, and i'm buying one!

Harpal Sahota
13th September, 2011 @ 12:30 pm PDT

I echo "never make it in the US". Low speed would make other drivers furious (road rage country- with many impatient drivers), and the safety issue comes out with any small vehicle. Our 25 mph streets become 40 mph streets quickly when people can get away with it.

Like Zap, Aptera, Triac, Moose, Th!nk, City-EL, Alius, and many more EVs; this is a pleasant pipe dream.

Like a Smart car- I would like to see a wheelchair jabbed in there!

Chris Jordan
13th September, 2011 @ 02:48 pm PDT

Make it for less than $5K and I'd buy one. Most of my driving is short-range as I live in a small town.

I'd prefer that they double the range though. I make 60-90 mile (one way) trips several times a month. They'd have to make it a hybrid to do that though, at least until electric storage tech matures a bit more.

That 75mph upper limit is a bit risky too on the highway. Still, a definite move in the right direction if it ever gets produced.

Jason Bontrager
14th September, 2011 @ 07:11 am PDT

OK nice concept. Why did it take so long? 12 years ago Corbin Motors of San Diego developed the electric "sparrow" a single seater with similar 75mph top speed and distance. (because the 60miles here is surely based on a average speed of something like 35mph and not 75 continuous). They went out of business from quote "Numerous mechanical and electrical problems (mainly with the motor controllers), as well as several financial and employee related issues forced Corbin Motors into United States Bankrupcy Court " So it was a issues the a company like GM would have been able to avoid.

Does anyone remember the EV-1 by GM? Check out wikipedia. 800 units where leased, no one allowed to purchase one. There was a very positive reaction my most who had one, but then GM decided to repossess all the units and destroy them. I have seen many articles over the years of American car companies "looking" at building electric and hybrids, but for some reason they in actuality have been digging their heels in and dragging their feet. Finally a few are coming out, but it makes me sad to think we could have been at the same spot almost 20years ago if they had wanted to.

telocity
15th September, 2011 @ 11:27 am PDT

Here is what I see. A front driver with a swoopy pod, like an Aptera but not so dorky-looking. Two rear wheels (more on that later) independently suspended with motorcycle tires, like the Quaddro scooter. Tandem seating (and maybe even some storage space?), like a Carver is a nod to practicality and versatility, which make one wonder why Volkswagen would have come out with that one-seater EV-Turd. AND an interesting gap between the pod and the front drive section that makes me wonder if this puppy leans!! If so, I would be a pretty good melding of the benefits offered by the aforementioned vehicles. If Opel could get a hybrid powertrain that would allow a longer range (like the Ampera?) this could be a real game changer.

About those 2 rear wheels. True, they present a problem under current regulations, but years ago anything but round headlights were forbidden. Once the government realized that better aerodynamic from rectangular headlights would help save gas, the regulations changed and today anything goes. So a simple amendment to say something like "vehicles with 4-wheels and a GVW less than 350Kg can be classified as motorcycles." There is obvious interest in these types of vehicles, and a compelling case for making the needed regulatory alterations to allow these to come to market.

Bruce H. Anderson
1st October, 2011 @ 05:22 am PDT
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