Vauxhall-Opel boss Nick Reilly says the company's RAK e electric tandem 'is a very serious concept'
16 September 2011

Vauxhall's RAK e electric tandem two-seater 'is a very serious concept,' says Vauxhall-Opel boss Nick Reilly, adding that the company is investigating production feasibility and believes it could go on sale for around £9000.

The Vauxhall RAK e was unveiled at Frankfurt motor show this week. It has a range of 60 miles, a top speed of 75mph and can accelerate to 62mph in under 13 seconds. It weighs only 380kg, despite a core structure made from high-strength steels rather than the composites and aluminium that would usually be used in a car like this.

The rest of it is made from ‘a strategic choice of composite materials,’ says lead designer Richard Shaw, and it’s ‘very rigid'. It has also been designed ‘with production in mind'.

Though a four-wheeler, the RAK e’s rear track is very narrow, a pair of wheels attached to what could be the world’s narrowest live axle, mounted-in unit with a single swing arm. Reilly says that ‘we started with one big wheel, but it’s got two wheels because of the mass of the second passenger, and for stability'.

Reilly is keen to see whether the RAK e can provide a replacement for the now-abandoned electric version of the company’s city car, which has been scrapped for cost reasons. Pricey batteries are also an obstacle for the RAK e project.

'We've got to work on costs,' says Reilly, and 'we've got to refine it and do it right'. But it’s clear that this tandem electric car can be sold for considerably less than an electric conversion of a conventional car.

‘We want to show it to a few governments and see if they're serious about EVs,' he says. If they are, and Vauxhall can overcome the technological and manufacturing challenges posed by this car, we could very likely see it as an unusual sister EV to the Ampera.

The RAK e name comes from the rocket-propelled Opel RAK 2 driven by Adam Opel’s grandson Fritz in 1928, the e in this concept’s name standing for electric and experimental.

See all the latest Vauxhall reviews, news and video

 

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron UK review
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    First UK drive finds the facelifted A3 Sportback e-tron remains a first-rate plug-in hybrid that is packed with tech if a little short on driver appeal
  • Citroen C11.2 Puretech 82 Furio
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    Citroën's city car gets a new sporty-looking trim level, adding visual adornments, but no premium for the 1.2-litre Puretech triple we're driving
  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka