Frankfurt Auto Show: Live Reveal Of Opel Flextreme Diesel-Electric Concept Car!

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

We were at Frankfurt's Bockenheimer Depot for GM's revealing of the Opel Flextreme Diesel Concept, the latest sheetmetal incarnation of the company's E-Flex architecture. The system uses a series hybrid system supported by a diesel engine operating at peak efficiency to charge a battery pack from from power supply firm A123. GM vice chsirmsn Bob Lutz took time out from flogging training jets to act as MC for the event, which included a light show and modern dance routine straight out of Mumenschanz circa 1977, minus the toilet paper rolls. We'll have a gallery up momentarily. UPDATE: Full press release after the jump.


Dynamic, Versatile and Less Than 40 g CO2/km: Opel Flextreme

Innovative, sporty monocab concept displays ground-breaking E-Flex architecture

Emission-free operating range of 55 km with electricity from mains outlet

Small diesel unit charges lithium-ion battery for total operating range of 715 km

Rüsselsheim/Frankfurt. Opel Flextreme is the name of the concept vehicle that marks a milestone in the development of the electric car: with its completely new, environmentally friendly E-Flex electric propulsion concept most commuters in Europe could travel everyday without producing any CO2 emissions. The car only needs to be charged for a relatively short time through the mains outlet after traveling 55 kilometers. If required however, the Flextreme can travel up to 715 km without stopping to recharge or refuel thanks to its small turbo-diesel engine. According to the European test cycle (ECE R101), this unit's emissions are expected to be less than 40 g CO2/km. With the dynamic IAA monocab coupé concept, Opel also highlights others innovative solutions - including the electric personal transporters under the FlexLoad® load floor.

The Opel Flextreme uses GM's E-Flex architecture and represents the company's strategy to develop vehicles that reduce CO2 emissions and the automobile's dependency on oil,

thereby supporting global diversification of the energy mix. This also includes using the mains electricity network as an energy source. At the concept's heart is an electric motor that takes its power from a large lithium-ion battery. The difference to conventional hybrid propulsion systems is that the E-Flex system's 1.3-liter diesel engine is not connected to the wheels. It is purely on board to produce additional electricity to charge the battery and provide a greater operating range. It always operates in the optimum rpm range and its cylinder pressure-based closed loop technology controls the combustion process, further reducing the vehicle's emissions.

With a fully charged battery, the Flextreme has an operating range of 55 kilometers when running purely on electrical power, and only requires a standard 220 V mains socket to recharge the battery in around three hours. Commuters in Europe have an average commute of less than 50 kilometers, so if they were to charge the car up overnight and during the day, they could drive over 100 km each day without producing any CO2 emissions. "Commutes to major city-centers in Europe will do nothing but grow more challenging in the future, "," says Robert A. Lutz, GM Vice Chairman, Global Product Development, "and we see E-Flex vehicles as an elegant solution for commuters." Bob Lutz sees the Opel Flextreme Concept vehicle as "a natural for the Opel brand in Europe, where it has long been known for technological innovation and strong design."

System already integrated into product development

The E-Flex system is not just a vision of GM - it is already fully integrated into product development. It enables different propulsion systems to be fitted into one uniform chassis with electric propulsion. Fuel cells or bioethanol/diesel engines can also be fitted as secondary propulsion units depending on what energy source is readily available in the driver's area.

The timetable for series production is closely tied to the development of key technologies, such as high-performance lithium-ion batteries. E-Flex Chief Engineer Frank Weber is confident about its further development: "We fully intend to bring this technology to market," says Weber. "we're increasingly confident that our strategic battery partners will be able to deliver a production-ready battery in the near future."

Segways in trunk add extra mobility option

The Flextreme takes the new design language debuted in the GTC Coupé at the Geneva Motor Show several steps further. With the forward-opening rear doors (FlexDoor®), a large transparent roof and two tailgate doors that open from the side and swing upwards, the concept car continues Opel's tradition of particularly flexible and practical body concepts with attractive designs. This also includes the innovative FlexLoad® additional underfloor luggage compartment.

The big surprise for the IAA are two high-tech electric personal transporters, ingeniously packaged below the cargo floor. They can be used in areas that cars cannot enter, thereby adding an extra mobility option. The electric scooters provide up to 38 km

(23 miles) of clean mobility.



@ Aaron Stein -

for a PHEV, the only sensible measure is something like kWh/100km or MPkWh, regardless of source.

One liter liter of diesel equals ~9.9 kWh of chemical energy, gasoline

comes in at ~8.75. Multiply that by 3.754 for US gallons. The on-board

computer already keeps track of liquid fuel consumption. In a PHEV, it

will also needs to keep track of the number of kWhs ingested from the

electricity grid. It will also need to present all these numbers in a

suitable format and provide a USB interface to let you export them to

your home PC for further processing.

Figuring out your CO2 emissions is much harder, because you have to

know how your utility produces or procures its product. That's usually

a trade secret, though some utilities offer eco-electricity at premium

rates. Otherwise, the closest you'll get is the general grid mix in

your state/country. Moreover, running your PHEV/EV off nuclear power is

no panacea, as you're causing the production of additional radioactive

waste. Is that better or worse than CO2?

Also, nuclear power stations are best used for base load. If you use

their output to pump water uphill during the night, is the hydro power

produced some time later suddenly counted as renewable and oh-so-green

in the official statistics? Such greenwashing may indeed be going on in

parts of Europe.