Opel Flexstreme

Published: 11 September 2007

Opel Flextreme: the lowdown

Vauxhall’s European sister brand Opel showed off its surprise at Frankfurt today – the new Flextreme concept car. Under that voluminous monocab body lies GM’s E-Flex plug-in hybrid system. It’s the latest trend in hybrids, allowing up to 30 miles of zero-emissions electric operation, after which the diesel engine kicks in to recharge the battery. As is the flavour of this year’s Frankfurt show, it’s impressively green, GM claiming CO2 emissions of less than 40g/km.

So do I actually plug it in?

Yep. If you arrive home at home at night and the battery charge is low, you charge it up using a standard European 220-volt plug. A full recharge takes around three hours and GM claims that the majority of commuters could use its 30-mile range to travel to work and back daily emitting no emissions from the exhaust. The Flextreme’s hybrid system uses a lithium ion battery and electric motor, mated to GM’s small 1.3-litre diesel. The combustion engine isn’t actually attached to the wheels; it only ever charges the battery.

The Flextreme has got some pretty wacky styling

This is a GM concept. What else did you expect? The monobox styling has large, suicide rear doors and a huge see-through roof to provide a light and airy interior. The tailgate is split, the doors opening separately upwards. GM’s FlexLoad system is present and correct but, instead of handling bicycles, this concept car comes with two Segways that are packaged beneath the boot. The idea is that the driver parks up in town centres (having arrived there emissions-free, naturally) and then scoot around on the electric scooters to do their shopping. Perhaps GM forgot that the Segways’ 23-mile electric-powered range rather puts the Flextreme’s more limited range in the shade…

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet