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May 6, 2008

GERMANY: GM’s Opel to build electric cars

Opel is planning to build two electric cars in Germany.

Opel is planning to build two electric cars in Germany.

GM chief executive Rick Wagoner told Automobilwoche that part of GM’s recently announced US$1bn investment in Opel would include other models based on the E-Flex architecture, as well as the Flextreme concept shown at Frankfurt last year.

“GM is working on a product programme that includes the development of a range of E-Flex models for the Opel brand,” said Wagoner.

The E-Flex programme is based on the Chevrolet Volt concept due in series at the end of 2010. The programme is being developed at GM’s Warrant development centre in Michigan.

Automobilwoche said a second E-Flex model would have more interior space than the Flextreme.
The E-Flex principle uses lithium-ion batteries to give the vehicle a range of 35 miles/60km. The batteries could be charged at home or by an on-board generator which could be a small combustion engine or a fuel cell.

The Opel models would be built in Germany and use GM’s Global Compact architecture that will form the basis of the next generation Astra.

Last week GM announced a EUR9bn investment in Opel, guaranteeing the future of its German plants. The investment will run until 2012 and include 17 new models and three new trucks.

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