GM's European Arm, Opel, Shows Two-Seat Electric Urban Concept

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Vauxhall/Opel electric car concept for 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

Vauxhall/Opel electric car concept for 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

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With the Frankfurt Motor Show launching in less than a week, the concept cars are starting to come thick and fast.

The latest is a small two-seat electric urban car from Opel, the premiere European brand operated by General Motors.

It's one of several tiny urban electric concepts, joining the Audi Urban Concept (whose cover was broken by spy videos taken during an advertising shoot) and the Volkswagen Nils concept, among others, under the spotlights in the halls of the Frankfurt Messe.

The pod-like design has a narrower rear track than at the front, with the pair of rear wheels on a trailing arm like a motorcycle. It is said to have a range of up to 60 miles, and be capable of speeds of up to 75 mph, though presumably the electric range is at lower average speeds like the stop-and-go traffic in dense urban cores.

Opel/Vauxhall released few other details of its concept before the show, though the company said it will be attractive to "those on a very tight budget."

That might possibly mean the little Opel is small enough and low-powered enough to qualify as a quadricycle--as one model of the Renault Twizy does--which comes with lower registration fees and can be driven on a motorcycle license.

Will the concept be produced? The company was vague, although it said the concept has "potential."

It's unlikely the little Opel, or other two-seat electric urban cars from major automakers, will be sold in the United States.

Buyers here have hardly sent sales of the Smart ForTwo soaring--let alone its Smart Electric Drive model--and with the makers of the Think City in bankruptcy, the Wheego Whip LiFe and other electric two-seaters are struggling.

Instead, the little electric cars are intended for more crowded European and Asian cities, and perhaps for future megacities in China and other regions, where a tiny car will be far more practical than even a subcompact.



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Comments (16)
  1. It seems GM is still bent on giving Americans everything they don't want; including really dumb charging station laws and demands.

    The Renault Twizy would probably outsell the Volt in America, and that is probably why the Renault Twizy is not in America.

  2. It seems like GM wants to get into the EV race but is being kept from doing so by someone or some thing. So here they go again doing another EV Americans will never see on American soil. Who ever is stopping them from being competitive in the EV market in the US should stop before GM gets left behind again.

  3. Geez seems I can't say much without getting a -1 any more, lighten up.

  4. I am way head of you on those - points. Any time you say anything bad about that crappy overpriced Volt, this blog gives you a minus point or two or three.

  5. Well you do make some odd comments that seem as though you didn't think them through before posting. But there are a few people on this site who would rather hide behind the ratings system then post a reply. It would be healthier to talk and debate an issue rather then just hiding behind a rating system.

  6. @James: LOLOLOL! You gave me my first truly big laugh of the day. The Renault Twizy, a tiny two-seat electric, would outsell the Volt? Right. Because that's worked so well for Smart. Uh huh.

  7. No, John, I know the Twizy can't out sell the Volt, because they are probably the same price. It's just that the Twizy reminded me so much of the Volt...worthless.

  8. @Voelcker, don't laugh too laugh. The best selling car in the USA is a single seater called the Cozy Coupe.
    So the Twizy may have a chance.

  9. *** "laugh too loud"

  10. @John: Very true, we covered that same story too:

    BUT, I gather the Cozy Coupe is still awaiting its NHTSA certification ...

  11. I so tired of seeing weird buggy concept cars. When are we going to see affordable sleek and sexy EVs -- the real deal?

  12. Oh! So you noticed that huh? I think those match box electric cars look like they belong in a circus with clowns crawling out of them. They make them that way so they can't compete with that hybrid Chevy Volt that thinks it an electric car. VW can't even come out with one that doesn't look like it will have clowns crawling out of it...look at the little clown crawler.

  13. @James: Not to worry, assuming you're located in the States, you won't have to worry about seeing any of these cars on the streets.

    Which. It. Says. In. The. Article. If. You. Bother. To. Read. It. "It's unlikely the little Opel, or other two-seat electric urban cars from major automakers, will be sold in the United States."


  14. John, excellent point. One of the artifacts of capitalism, is that long term loans (for better or worse) tend to push consumers up market, buying more than they need, and hurting down market trade. Case in point - our housing market with 30 year mortgages, causing builders and consumers to move upmarket into larger / better homes than they needed, and orphaning the market for smaller, more sensible homes.

  15. Sorry, previous post addressed to John Briggs and his citing of the Cozy Coupe. I believe the Renault Twizy is all that most commuters need (who aren't island-ed amongst freeways) and sells for a mere $10K. It's long term loans, like the 5 year auto loan, that has pushed consumers and automakers to much larger / better makes and models, leaving the Twizy niche orphaned.

  16. Jason,
    Well the Cozy Coupe might be too small for my 6'1" frame, but I might fit in the Twizy. But can I get it with some sort of doors?
    Oh wait, Massachusetts will not let them on the road at more than 25 MPH, never mind.

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