GM switches on Opel/Vauxhall grand tourer

  • 10-Mar-2010 04:57 EST
The Flextreme GT/E concept offers a potential top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h), fuel consumption of 175 mpg, and an all-electric range of 40 mi (54 km).

Take the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV) drivetrain, revealed by General Motors at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, and scale the vehicle up to provide the style, performance, and the accommodation of a grand tourer, and the Flextreme GT/E concept, shown at the 2010 Geneva show, could be the result.

Opel/Vauxhall’s objective is to demonstrate that the serial hybrid-type drivetrain of the Ampera can be applied to vehicles in any market segment including a high-performance, low-emissions grand tourer.

The E-REV drivetrain has been designed to offer a top speed over 125 mph (201 km/h) in the Flextreme GT/E, with 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) acceleration in less than 9 s. A battery-powered range of up to 40 mi (54 km) comes from the T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack housed in the chassis spine under the floor and rear seat. Opel/Vauxhall research suggests that around 80% of drivers in Germany travel less than 50 km (31 mi) a day, well within the electric-only range of the vehicle.

Target fuel consumption is 175 mpg, with carbon dioxide emissions of 40 g/km. The small auxiliary gasoline engine would be activated automatically to recharge the battery, extending the range for up to 300 mi (480 km) with gasoline or until the battery pack can be recharged from an electrical charging point. The drive motor provides 370 N·m (273 lb·ft) of torque from rest.

The car has a projected drag coefficient of 0.22. Aerodynamic aids include the low roof height of 1308 mm (51.5 in), enclosed underbody, and rearview mirrors replaced with small video camera pods. An active system to improve airflow is also fitted. As speed rises above 30 mph (48 km/h), 350 mm (13.8 in) long vertical panels concealed in the air extractor slots behind the C-pillars extend rearward to the rear lamp clusters. The result is smoothed airflow around the rear corners of the body.

The body sits wide and low on 21-in alloy wheels fitted with 195/45-section low-rolling-resistance tires. The hood tapers down to the trapezoidal front grille, though only the upper section admits cooling air, helping to reduce frontal air drag. The central Opel or Vauxhall badge doubles as a charging socket for the battery pack. The engine compartment extracts exhausted air through narrow longitudinal vents in the hood.

Truncated C-pillars allow the glass area to extend from front to rear along each side with a central glazed panel running from the tailgate forward almost to the windshield. The glazing here is adaptive, darkening in summer to reduce heat inside the cabin but allowing winter sun to warm it.

Like the latest Opel/Vauxhall Meriva launched at Geneva, the Flextreme GT/E is equipped with rear-hinged rear doors designed to improve access to the rear seats. In place of door handles, light-sensing panels will open the door lock when covered by a hand.

Carbon composite outer panels, polycarbonate glazing, and structural components constructed from aluminum alloy help to reduce weight by an estimated 40% compared with conventional construction.

Opel/Vauxhall and GM plan to put the E-REV drivetrain into production in the Ampera by the end of 2011.

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