Wednesday, December 23, 2009

GM’s Opel Planning Several Electric Cars for Europe

Using the Chevrolet Volt program as a base, GM’s Opel brand is planning to introduce a series of electric-powered vehicles. In a recent interview, GM’s chief executive Rick Wagoner told German newspaper “Automobilwoche” that the company’s recently announced $1 billion investment in Opel will include the development of various electric-powered vehicles based on the E-Flex architecture which in turn, is based on the Chevrolet Volt.

"GM is working on a product program, which aims to develop a range of E-Flex models for the Opel brand," said Wagoner. First up will be the production version of last year’s Flextreme Concept (pictured above) that is expected to arrive in the European market one year after the Chevy Volt, in 2011.

The Flextreme combines an electric propulsion motor and a 1.3-liter CDTI diesel. However, regardless of the Flextreme’s operating mode, it is always electrically powered. The diesel engine is onboard solely to power the generator and charge the battery.

The Flextreme can be charged in around three hours via a standard 220 V electrical socket. A fully charged lithium-ion battery gives the concept car a range of around 55 km or 35 miles in purely electric operating mode. When the battery is run down and no electrical socket available, the Flextreme’s common-rail diesel engine kicks in to provide electricity and recharge it.

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