Energy costs, efficiency and lightweight design are in the spotlight at the 64th Frankfurt International Motor Show. Opel is staking a strong claim for the center of attention with an all-new battery-powered electric vehicle. The Opel RAK e Concept opens a new chapter in electric mobility and extends Opel’s pioneering role in alternative propulsion systems. The radical RAK e is defined by minimal energy costs, 100 kilometers for one euro, one third of the weight of a modern small car, and a maximum speed of 120 km/h.
“We want to develop electric vehicles that everyone can afford. The range-extending concept of the Ampera demonstrates our leadership in electrification of the automobile, the Opel RAK e experimental vehicle aims to deliver pricing that even younger customers can afford. The RAK e has cool looks and production-potential. In future, efficiency will be measured in euros, not liters per 100 km; today we are pleased to present our “1 euro car”, said Karl-Friedrich Stracke, Opel CEO, at the world premiere in Frankfurt.
The lightweight concept of the Opel RAK e is based on a steel space-frame structure beneath a skin of conventional synthetic material. This allows a high level of safety as well as affordable pricing. Opel deliberately avoids the use of expensive composite materials in its lightweight-design philosophy, in order to make electric mobility affordable for as many people as possible.
The name “RAK e” recalls the pioneering spirit inspired by Fritz von Opel and his revolutionary rocket-powered car in the last century. In 1928 RAK 2 catapulted the grandson of company-founder Adam Opel to a top speed of 228 km/h. The “e” not only stands for electric, but also takes up again the idea of ground-breaking experimental vehicles.
“The RAK e is inspired by our wealth of experience in the area of electro-mobility, above all by the Ampera”; explains Mark Adams, Vice President Design. “This progressive concept is creating a new class of electric vehicle; this is what future mobility with ‘my first e-Opel’ could look like. We are eager to see the reaction of visitors to the show.”
Design: Connecting Fun and Functionality
The potential of the spectacular experimental vehicle is reflected in the innovative design. The bodywork is made of fully recyclable synthetic material; the tandem two-seat passenger compartment is reminiscent of glider. Thanks to the large cockpit canopy, the driver and passenger enjoy a feeling of spaciousness and all-around visibility. The front seat, steering column and armrests automatically tip forward to enable easy-entry; remote control via smart phone enhances the optical effect of this action. The pedals and the steering wheel adjust to the size of the driver.
The sporty character of the two-seater is underlined by visible chassis components, such as the wheel-integrated front disk brakes and the motorbike-derived rear swing-arm. The rear wheels enhance agility with a tread width of only 600 mm.
“1-Euro Car”: Electric Propulsion with Minimal Running Costs
The development objectives – dynamic performance, low mass and optimum efficiency coupled with maximum simplicity – are reflected in the appearance. Young, environmentally conscious, or technology-fans, the Opel RAK e appeals to a variety of customers for whom the cool looks of an electric vehicle are as important as its energy consumption.
Around three meters long and 119 cm high, the aerodynamic Opel RAK e offers zero-emission driving at minimal running costs. After charging the battery for three hours at a cost of about one euro, the experimental vehicle has a range of up to 100 km. This results from the combination of low weight, minimal frontal area, low rolling resistance, and highly efficient electric propulsion.
Energy consumption per person is ten times lower than that of an economical small car. The cockpit features displays showing battery state-of-charge or the nearest charging station, infotainment equipment, and heating and cooling.
Early Start: Electric Driving Aged 16
A wide range of options in a variety of colors, materials and shapes would enable a customer to personalize the Opel RAK e to his or her own tastes. Eye-catching paint, contrasting starkly with the roof, and futuristic LED lights, are aimed squarely at young buyers, “a customer-group for whom we have more new ideas than ever before”, says Mark Adams. Subject to local laws, even 16-year-olds could begin their driving careers in the Opel RAK e, by limiting the top speed to 45 km/h.
Weighing only 380 kg the Opel RAK e is only one third of the weight of a modern small car. The turning circle of just 5.5 m makes the experimental vehicle ideal for inner-city mobility. The projected top speed of 120 km/h and zero to 100 km/h acceleration in less than 13 seconds demonstrate that Opel’s philosophy for urban mobility includes motorway-capability. It takes very little energy for Opel RAK e to deliver such performance – peak power output is 36.5 kW/49 hp; 10.5 kW/14 hp is continuously available. The useable battery capacity of 5 kWh enables a range of 100 km, which corresponds to fuel consumption of just 0.6 liters of gasoline. Over an annual 10,000 km the Opel RAK e’s energy consumption would therefore be a modest 525 kWh. This could be supplied by a five square-meter, 500-Watt solar panel mounted on the roof of the garage.