When personal transport finally cleans up its act – once mass-produced cars with emissions-free running make it to a road near you – historians will look back on the Opel Flextreme concept as a milestone.This battery powered MPV brings carbon-neutral commuting, combined with a sensible real-world touring range, several steps closer to production. And you can find out everything worth knowing about this ground-breaking car when you watch our video on it.
The Opel Flextreme was shown for the first time at September’s Frankfurt motor show. Aside from being a big clue towards the look of the next Vauxhall Zafira, it’s the third car in General Motors’ E-Flex concept series, which exists to show off what it calls its range extended electric vehicles. These aren’t conventional hybrid cars; there’s no connection between their combustion engines and driving wheels. Instead, they’re pure battery-driven EVs that use differing types of engines as back-up generators to provide an additional charge once the batteries have run out, and provide a sensible touring range.They plug into the mains for charging at home or at work, and are capable of running 30 to 40 miles on emissions-free battery power alone. In the Flextreme’s case, a 1.3-litre turbodiesel engine with a 26-litre fuel tank extends that range to 450-miles under combustive power.
GM’s climate saviour
GM’s plug-in E-Flex system is almost as radical as the new Honda FCX, and certainly more practical than the Honda because it does not require a new hydrogen fuel infrastructure. Though the Flextreme has limited zero emissions potential, it nevertheless offers scope for significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions compared to a conventional car, and can harness existing fuel distribution networks.