Vauxhall Rake EV concept (2011) at the Frankfurt motor show

Published: 13 September 2011

Alongside the Astra GTC and Zafira Tourer, Vauxhall (and thus Opel) is unveiling something a little more ‘out there’ at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show. It’s this tiny city car, known by Vauxhall as RAK e, and which we’re going to call the Rake. The name is a modern take on the Rak 2, a rocket-powered Opel that hit 140mph in 1928.

And this Vauxhall Rake concept car is what exactly?

A little electric car with Ampera-influenced stlying, which Vauxhall claims has both ‘production potential’ and could ‘revolutionise urban transport, especially for younger drivers and those on a very tight budget’. It’s designed to use a minimal amount of energy, and weigh as little as possible – the concept tips the scales just 380kg,

Think of it as something that offers a little bit more weather protection than Renault’s Twizy, and Vauxhall says it’s aimed at young (i.e. teenage) drivers. 'The Rake is inspired by our wealth of experience in the area of electro-mobility, underpinned by the Ampera,' said Vauxhall's British vice president of design, Mark Adams. 'This progressive concept is creating a new class of electric vehicle; we’re eager to see the reaction of customers at the show.'

What else do we know about Vauxhall's Twizy-rivalling EV?

The concept car has a 75mph top speed and is claimed to do the 0-60mph dash in under 13 whole seconds. Peak power from the electric motor is 48bhp, with 14bhp being constantly available; the 5kWh battery takes three hours to charge and means a 60-mile range .

There’s a steel spaceframe, with a (cheap) fully-recyclable synthetic material used for the body – there’s no expensive carbonfibre on the Rake. There’s seating for two in a tandem configuration, and Vauxhall claims the energy consumption per person in the Rake is ten times lower than that of a typical supermini. 'We want to develop electric vehicles that everyone can afford,' said Karl-Friedrich Stracke, Vauxhall and Opel's CEO. 'The Rake aims to deliver pricing that even younger customers can afford. It also has cool looks and production potential. In future, efficiency will be measured in money-terms, not litres per 100km.'

A canopy roof ensures the Rake's cabin is light and airy, the front seat, steering column and armrests automatically tip forward to aid your entry and exit, and both the steering wheel and pedals are adjustable.

Alongside a rival for the Mini and Fiat 500 being launched next year (it’s internally dubbed Junior), Vauxhall/Opel will also launch an innovative city car in 2014. 

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By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy