2010 Geneva Motor Show: Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 26, 2010

Opel moved into the eco-friendly technology arena when it debuted the Flextreme GT/E Concept at the 80th Geneva Motor Show. The GT/E Concept demonstrated benchmarks in designing vehicles with an eye for environmental friendliness, all elements of which are fused together with the typical precision of the German auto maker.

The use of electrical power is central to the conceptualizing and the design of the Opel Flextreme GTE. In fact, the concept was a study in how technologies intended for extended-range electric vehicle platforms can be adapted to all sizes of vehicles.

In fact, Opel demonstrated through the GT/E Concept that the E-REV technology can be used not only for large vehicles but also on compact models like the Opel Ampera.

Exterior Design

In addition to environmental friendliness via the E-REV technology, the GT/E Concept also presents plenty of opportunities for new designs that also take into account optimal aerodynamic performance for whatever platform Opel can come up with.

Aerodynamics play a big role in the aesthetics of the front portion of the GT/E Concept, which features an elongated nose section that terminate with wing-shaped cases for its LED headlights. The headlights themselves are seamlessly built into the front fenders and are part of the hood line.

A chrome bar at the front section of the vehicle also features the distinctive wing shape of the headlight cases, sporting a prominent emblem of the car marker. This is more than just an aesthetic element – its function is to encase a charger socket for the car’s battery.

The grille performs a dual function as well. The upper part serves as an intake for engine-cooling air, while the lower portion performs a function in achieving aerodynamic efficiency. It is also a forward-looking design element, which will be adapted in response to future regulations governing pedestrian protection.

An especially designed hood, on the other hand, acts as arteries for the engine, through which air flows out. This is done through the narrow longitudinal vents that are integrated on the side panels of the nose section.

The Opel Flextreme GT/E’s sleek profile features a distinctively designed group of C-pillars. The design makes for a streamlined side profile. The sleekness of the visual design language employs to its fullest the “blade” motif that is a trademark of Opel’s design genius. This is implemented by a swage line that extends into the lower front fender, and starts from the bottom of the C-Pillar.

The rear doors in the Opel Flextreme GT/E employ the FlexDoors concept that was first implemented on the Meriva monocab. The GT/E Concept also features a technologically advanced method of opening doors. Light sensors detect the presence of a hand near the doors, and activate a mechanism that automatically opens the doors for entry into the cabin. The GT/E Concept also employs small camera pods instead of side mirrors on the front doors.

The rear portion of the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept is a coupe design all the way. A raked tailgate is a prominent part of the rear part of the concept vehicle. Wing-shaped LED taillights serve as a complement to the similar lights at the front part of the GT/E Concept.

The tailgate is wrapped around the trunk to make it easier to access, and to contribute to the aerodynamic profile of the GT/E Concept as well. The top part of the GT/E Concept serves two duties. One, it brings in shade when there is too much sunlight, especially in summer. In winter, the roof will bring in enough sunlight to bring warmth to the interiors. This is made possible by a translucent glass panel that is fixed onto the center portion of the roof.

Powertrain

As for its drivetrain, the Flextreme GT/E Concept employs the revolutionary E-REV technology that was meant for the compact Opel Ampera. With the GT/E Concept, however, Opel is demonstrating that this technology can be adapted for larger vehicles. With the Flextreme GT/E Concept, Opel demonstrated that the E-REV’s performance in the compact Ampera can be duplicated in mid-size or even large-size vehicles.

The GT/E Concept’s battery can achieve a driving range of 60 kilometers on electric power alone. The Concept can achieve a max speed of 200 kilometers per hour, and consume 1.6 liters of fuel for every 100 kilometers traveled. Carbon emissions are low, with only 40 grams per kilometer of carbon dioxide emitted. With the backup gasoline engine, the GT/E Concept can travel 500 kilometers or more.

GT/E Concept is also distinct for its exclusive use of electric power in its wheels. A T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack provides the necessary electric energy for propelling the vehicle forward. This is mounted below the rear seat, and beneath the floor so it doesn’t eat up space in the cabin. For driving distances beyond 60 kilometers, the gasoline engine kicks in and acts as a generator to provide the electricity necessary to continue driving up to 500 kilometers.

This means that, even if you run out of battery power, you can still travel a considerable distance. The extra range is necessary, especially if the vehicle is taken to places where there are only a few charging stations for the vehicle. Performance by the electric drive unit is nothing less than impressive.

With an instant torque of 370 Nm, the GT/E Concept can leap to 100 kilometers per hour in record time. Despite being an electric-powered car, it takes less than 9 seconds for the GT/E Concept to reach that speed. The GT/E Concept is but one of the steps that Opel had taken to bring sustainable mobility to its customers. The technology joins Opel’s achievements in the hybrid, and fuel cell fields.

Press Release

Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept

Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept made its debut at the 80th Geneva Motor Show (March 4 - 14, 2010), it will boost the company's credentials as a leader in green technologies, offering expressive design with efficient environmental performance - and engineered with German precision.

In Opel's strategy for achieving more independence from fossil fuels, electricity plays a key role. The 4.7-meter long Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept illustrates how extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV) technology can be plugged into large or mid-size vehicles, as well as compact cars such as the upcoming Opel Ampera.

Opel calls this strategy e-mobility unlimited: adapting the highly efficient E-REV drive system - which removes the limitations of battery-only power - to vehicles across all market segments. To enjoy zero CO2 driving emissions Opel-style, the Flextreme GT/E concept shows that size doesn't matter.

The purposeful design also enables the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept to achieve a projected drag co-efficient of just 0.22, which helps it reach a 200 km/h-plus top speed as well as conserve energy and extend its driving range. Stand-out visual features include a low and wide stance, wing-shaped lights front and rear, a distinctive nose and grille, floating C-pillars and muscular, sculptured bodywork.

"The Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept shows the shape of things to come from Opel," says Frank Weber, Vice President, Corporate and Product Planning. "Bold, expressive and highly efficient, it represents the product strategy we will apply to all our future vehicles, large and small, across all market segments."

Exterior design: expressing efficiency with emotion

The low, coupé-like proportions of the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept explore the potential for evolving Opel's new design language - sculptural artistry meets German precision - within an envelope optimized for aerodynamic efficiency.

The clean, frontal styling features a low hood line and an extended nose section, which is clasped by wing-shaped, signature LED headlamps. These are deeply carved into the front fenders and across the hood line. The new trapezoidal grille execution is slim but bold. The prominent wing-shaped chrome bar carries a large Opel emblem, which doubles as a socket for charging the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept's battery pack.

The upper section of the grille is used to admit cooling air, the lower portion being covered by a translucent panel. The absence of additional air intakes allows a low frontal area for aerodynamic efficiency and also enables the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept to meet future pedestrian protection requirements.

The sculpted hood, with an Opel signature central crease line, features narrow longitudinal vents on either side to draw air out of the engine compartment. The muscular fenders and wheel-arches sweep back into the side-body.

In profile, the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept is distinguished by innovative, stubbed C-pillars. This floating design allows the glasshouse to be extended rearwards under the arching roofline, emphasizing the flowing lines of the side body. The car's dynamic character is further underlined by a fresh expression of Opel's signature blade motif, now a swooping swage line from the base of the C-pillar into the lower front fender.

Access to the cabin is enhanced by the adoption of rear-hinged rear doors, an evolution of the Opel FlexDoors concept from the new generation Meriva monocab. To preserve the clean exterior looks, all door handles are replaced by light sensors. These trigger the doors open when covered by the driver's or passenger's hand. To reduce air turbulence, exterior front door mirrors are also absent, replaced by small camera pods in the base of the A-pillars.

At the rear, a strong shoulder line embraces sculpted wheel-arches that further emphasize the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept's wide, ground-hugging stance. The coupé look is completed by a steeply raked tailgate, carrying wing-shaped LED light units which echo the form of the front headlamps. Like that of the Insignia Sports Tourer, the tailgate has a wraparound design for improved trunk access. Its deep glass screen is slightly convex to improve airflow.

The translucency of the fixed glass panel in the center of the roof is adaptive, allowing sunlight to warm the interior in the cold of winter, but darkening for coolness in summer. A duct at the rear edge of the roof is for additional cooling of the battery and electronic components.

Managing airflow and saving weight

Integral to the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept's expressive looks is the efficiency of the design execution. The small frontal area, low roof height (1308 mm) and a flat, enclosed underbody all enable the car to cleave the air with a minimum of disturbance.

A series of measures optimize airflow management. The 21-inch alloy wheels are relatively narrow, to reduce wind resistance, and fitted with 195/45, low rolling resistance tires. Clear, flush-mounted trim inserts also minimize air turbulence.

The minimal front intake improves airflow around the nose of the car and the underbody sweeps up, venturi-like, at the rear to further reduce drag.

The Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept also explores the potential for active shape shifting. At speeds above 50 km/h, a vertical panel extends along the body from the air extraction slot behind each rear wheel-arch. These 350 mm-long side spoilers guide high-speed airflow around the rear corners of the car, further reducing the amount of turbulence.

Mass reduction measures for the body include the use of lightweight, carbon composite outer panels, polycarbonate window glazing and aluminum alloy structural components. Compared to conventional materials, these offer a 40 percent weight saving which further contributes to reduced energy consumption and an increased driving range.

Innovative propulsion

The efficient concept also includes GM's ground-breaking E-REV drive system, already developed for the Opel Ampera. The Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept shows the versatility of this technology by displaying it in a larger, mid-size vehicle format.

Despite its greater size and a maximum speed of more than 200 kilometers per hour, the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept is projected to offer performance similar to that of the Ampera: a battery-powered driving range of up to 60 km - with zero CO2 tailpipe emissions - and a total range of more than 500 km. Average fuel consumption is estimated at 1.6 l/100 km, with CO2 emissions of less than 40 g/km.

Unlike a hybrid vehicle, the wheels of the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept are powered at all times by electricity. For typical journeys up to 60 km, energy is supplied by a T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack located under the floor and rear seat.

However, unlike a battery-only electric vehicle, the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept eliminates any possibility of range anxiety through fear of being stranded without power. The small gasoline engine/generator is seamlessly engaged to provide electricity whenever the battery's supply becomes depleted. In this mode, the driving range is extended to more than 500 km, until the plug-in battery pack can be recharged or the car is refueled.

The motor in the electric drive unit delivers a substantial 370 Nm of instant torque, giving lively performance and projected zero to 100 km/h acceleration in less than nine seconds.

The Flextreme GT/E concept is a further step in Opel's unfolding strategy for the electrification of the automobile, which includes a wide portfolio of products using battery, extended-range, hybrid and fuel cell technologies.

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