GM has unveiled its 'Flextreme' MPV-style concept in Frankfurt. The vehicle features a European-tuned version of E-Flex propulsion system 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.

The 1.3-litre diesel engine is based on the 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.

GM also says that the concept itself is a clear reflection of GM Europe's latest design language - with narrow boomerang-shaped lights and a sloping swage line in the side. The monocab body comes with lightweight polycarbon panels, optimal aerodynamics and reduced weight alloy wheels to add further to the car's potential propulsion range,

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, it is claimed, provides unparalleled access into the car's cabin.

The Frankfurt show car also comes loaded with 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, GM says.

See also: FRANKFURT PREVIEW: GM eyes "affordable" electric by 2010