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 |  Sep 08 2011, 6:10 PM

General Motors’ European arm, Opel/Vauxhall, has announced that it will reveal a radical looking two-seater EV concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

Conceived as a stylish, urban vehicle aimed at younger buyers, it boasts a range of some 60 miles and is apparently capable of 75 mph, making it suitable for highway use.

Despite the trendy styling, Opel/Vauxhall claims practicality is a major theme of the concept, due to efficient packaging and a tandem seat layout. Thanks to lightweight construction, it also promises to be agile and fun to drive. There are even rumors circulating that the vehicle could possibly make production.

More details on the car will be revealed during the Opel/Vauxhall Press Conference at the show on September 13th.

 |  Oct 06 2010, 7:14 AM

With all this talk about sustainable mobility, automakers from around the world are trying all kinds of things. In Europe, Opel has one in the shape of this a “green” commercial concept, based on its Vivaro delivery van. On display at the IAA Commercial Vehicle show in Hannover, which runs from September 23-30th, the Vivaro e-Concept is, according to Chris Lacey (Director of International Operations for Opel/Vauxhall commercial vehicles), designed to “test the acceptance of our advanced propulsion technology for those attending the [IAA] show.”

The Vivaro e-Concept is a plug-in, extended range vehicle that uses technology similar to the Chevy Volt. It incorporates a 111 kilowatt electric motor that can provide a driving range of more than 220 miles on pure electric power, plus an internal combustion engine that acts as a generator to extend the vehicle’s range beyond that.

The batteries are stored under the floor to help protect them from the elements and can be recharged using a standard household 230 volt outlet. According to specs released from Opel, the Vivaro e-Concept can still haul loads of more than 1,500 lbs, which should make it a viable alternative to it’s regular, gasoline engined counterpart, particularly in parts of some European cities which are currently off-limits to cars and trucks because of noise and pollution restrictions. It’ll be interesting to see what the punters at IAA make of it.

 |  Jun 16 2010, 12:51 PM

As Europe struggles to deal with economic uncertainty in wake of the P-I-G-S crisis, General Motor’s European operations has elected to withdraw its application for government Loan Guarantees. According to sources within GM, the process of securing the loan guarantees has become increasingly complex and is taking longer than anticipated. Although some governments had already committed loan guarantees – particularly Spain and the U.K., uncertainty from others, including Germany, at a time when GM has already committed it’s Opel/Vauxhall brands to new programs and technologies, means that the General has decided to withdraw all applications and instead source the money required internally.

In response to the announcement, Nick Reilly, President of GM Europe and Chairman of Opel/Vauxhall’s management board had this to say. “We appreciate the support indicated by certain governments, especially the U.K. and Spain, but we need to move on. The decision of the German government last week was disappointing and means the conclusion for these guarantees are likely months away. We cannot afford to have uncertain funding plans and time consuming, complex negotiations at this time, when we need to keep investing in new products and technologies. To be clear, our funding needs have not changed and we are grateful to the decision and support of our parent company which will allow us to move forward in this very competitive industry.”

Prior to the announcement the U.K. government had already stated it would commit 330 million Euros (approximately $407 million) worth of Loan Guarantees and the Spanish government a similar amount, this out of a total of 1.8 billion Euros (approx $2.21 billion) requested  from across Europe. However with the German government seeking to enter new negotiations, GM has pulled the plug on external funding.

Instead, it will forge ahead with the 11 billion Euro investment plan into future products that was announced back in Februrary. This includes the new Opel/Vauxhall Astra and Meriva, plus the Ampera plug in hybrid, scheduled to be released next year (shown).

[Source: Spiegel Online]