Opel previews new 40g/km E-Flex Concept Flextreme
10 September 2007

You thought the Chevrolet Volt was impressively frugal, well this is the European equivalent, the Opel Flextreme.We've already reported on the technology in this super-economic family car, which mates the GM 1.3-litre diesel unit to the new electric propulsion system seen in the Volt.This means that when the battery charge runs out, the diesel engine can power the batteries running the electric motor, and consequently the car is never driven by the combustion engine in the conventional fashion – merely powered by it. The technology is not just an attempt to endear the environmental parties to General Motors, either, it is already in development for use in future models. The innovative ideas didn't end with the power source. Not only do the rear doors open in a butterfly movement for easy boot access, there's also a Segway packed under load bay. The Segway, an electric-powered two wheeled mobility device, allows for up to 23 miles of clean mobility after you've left your Flextreme in the car park – not bad considering the car does 34 miles before you start using diesel. Significantly, Volvo will also unveil an electric concept at Frankfurt, which allows the C30 ReCharge to run on electricity for up to 62 miles before switching to an ethanol-powered engine.As the owner of Volvo, Ford can compete with GM's E-Flex directly using the technology from the ReCharge. It is less clear how advanced Ford is with its 'series hybrid' powertrain, whilst GM's system is already set for hot- and cold-weather testing next year. Let the race to eco-credibility begin…

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Zafira
Vauxhall's Zafira has been a trend-setter since 1999, but has never been trendy

The Vauxhall Zafira seven-seat MPV is versatile and well made but is now showing its age

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Our Verdict

Vauxhall Zafira
Vauxhall's Zafira has been a trend-setter since 1999, but has never been trendy

The Vauxhall Zafira seven-seat MPV is versatile and well made but is now showing its age

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week