The MPV-style concept showcases the very latest development of GM’s E-Flex architecture, first previewed on the Chevrolet Volt Concept unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
The Flextreme uses the same electric hybrid drive system seen on the Volt, but coupled to a 1.3-litre turbo diesel engine rather than the Volt’s petrol power unit. Using an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery, the Flextreme is capable of a range of up to 55km on electric power alone – a range well within the needs of most European daily commuters, meaning they can travel to work and back without using any diesel or creating any CO2 emissions.
The 1.3-litre diesel engine is based on the award-winning CDTi found in Corsa and Astra, and is not connected to the wheels. Instead, the engine charges the batteries when they are empty and no plug-in facility is available, thereby extending the operating range.
But the Flextreme is more than just a demonstration of GM’s latest environmental technology. The concept itself is a clear reflection of Vauxhall’s latest design language – with narrow boomerang-shaped lights and a sloping swage line in the side. The smart monocab body is still designed with the environment in mind, however, and lightweight polycarbon panels, optimal aerodynamics and reduced weight alloy wheels add further to the car’s potential propulsion range,
As you’d expect from Vauxhall, the Flextreme is also highly innovative, with new loading systems including patented Flexload and Flexdoors, mixed with the latest advanced materials inside the cabin.
The Flexload luggage compartment allows access through a pair of butterfly-style rear tailgate doors which swing open upwards along the car’s central axis, making the tailgate accessible not just from the rear, but from the side of the vehicle where space is tight.
The Flextreme’s other innovation is its Flexload doors. While the front doors open in the conventional fashion, the back ones are hinged at the rear, while there is no central B-Pillar. This provides unparalleled access into the car’s cabin.
The seats are anchored to the floor in single rails in order to free up extra foot space, while a selection of cameras mounted in the car’s bodywork present the driver with a complete all-round view of the car’s surroundings.
And for the Frankfurt Show, the Flextreme carries a cargo that’s well in tune with its electric propulsion system in the form of Segway Personal Transporters. The Segways have been modified to mount neatly inside Flextreme’s body, and can be released from the car’s luggage compartment with a twist of the handlebars, allowing commuters to continue their carbon-free commute.