Opel e-bike “RAD e” Concept will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 11, 2012

Did you know that Opel started as a cycle manufacturer? Opel aims to remind people of its roots at the Geneva Motor Show next month where it will display an electric bicycle concept, together with its new Mokka small SUV and a high performance Astra compact car. The RAD e cycle is created to enter an expanding niche for electric cycles and to also remind consumers of its early history on the occasion of its 150th anniversary year.

In a statement, Opel said that this concept complements the existing e-mobility strategy of the brand. It is the first e-bike to be made using automotive construction and production principles.

The RAD e offers pedal power with a 250 watt motor to have an electrically assisted range of 60km to 145km. Opel said that the E-bikes play a key role in future integrated urban transport concepts linking e-bikes, cars and buses.

This concept follows on from Opel’s RAK e two-seat, three-wheeler electric concept shown at the Frankfurt auto show in 2011.

Opel said that it began to build bicycles 150 years ago. It said that in the RAD e, it has integrated several of its existing design language. A twin-turbocharged diesel version of the Insignia mid-sized car will also be shown in Geneva.

The 2.0-liter engine produces 195-hp, but has a CO2 emissions level of 129g/km. At the end of 2012, Opel will start selling the Mokka, which will be shown in Geneva as a production car, in Europe at its subcompact SUV segment where it will rival vehicles like the Dacia Duster, Suzuki SX4 and Fiat Sedici.

Press Release

Opel RAD e

Opel is presenting a stylish and environmentally-friendly urban design concept at the Geneva Motor show: the RAD e bike. It is fun and responds to customer needs to be mobile when car use is restricted or not possible. The RAD e is also a reminder of Opel’s early industrial period of manufacturing bicycles. In that sense, the designers developed a study that is both historically relevant and offers a vision of the future.

The RAD e is aimed primarily at urban people at a time when e-bikes are predicted to play an increasing role in future integrated urban transport concepts.

It follows Opel’s design philosophy “sculptural artistry meets German precision” and incorporates boomerang design cues that also appear in the award-winning Ampera and the RAK e experimental electric vehicle. The RAD e name takes its inspiration from “Rad” -the German word for bicycle and wheel.

The RAD e is the first e-bike concept to be designed around automotive manufacturing mass production methods. Instead of exotic light-weight materials, the Opel designers opted for a hollow pressed-steel frame which is also light weight, strong, flexible and easy to make. In Opel’s 150th anniversary year, it is particularly appropriate that the designers took their inspiration from the Opel’s 1928 Motoclub 500 motorbike which also had pressed-steel frame elements. At the time, the Motoclub was revolutionary because its steel components were pressed, cutting the production time from previously 14 to just four hours. Thus Opel makes a historical link to its pioneering spirit of the past which is still relevant for its innovations of the future.

The RAD e’s pedelec propulsion system is based on a state-of-the art 250 watt electric motor and a lithium-ion battery. In a maximum time of two-and-a-half hours, the battery can be fully charged. The e-bike can also be transported on Opel’s unique FlexFix bicycle carrier and be charged while driving.

Delivering at least 40 Nm of instant torque, the bike feels agile and fun to ride. The motor gives the rider support when pedaling. At an average speed of 20 kilometers an hour and depending on the electric assist and terrain, the e-bike achieves an electrically supported range of between 60 and 145 kilometers.

The same smartphone-based control unit that made its debut with the RAK e battery powered experimental car last year is now used with the RAD e. The control unit is a user-friendly solution that unlocks the electric engine, provides real-time data on range, speed and exact location.

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