Opel: Electric SUV concept unveiled

Opel 2 Article - August 22 2018.jpg

The German automaker, whose ownership recently changed hands from General Motors to PSA Group, has unveiled its electric SUV concept, the Opel GT X.

The new vehicle marks a decisive shift from Opel's previous stylistic influences - looking like a bolder, higher-riding, futuristic version of the latest Opel Astra, the Opel GT X provides a hint of what the new, PSA-owned Opel will be putting out by mid-2020s. 

The interior is moving towards the Swedish/Volvo way of simplicity - with design cues pioneered by Tesla. A single screen, which Opel appropriately calls the "Pure Panel", extends from the left side of the steering wheel to the middle of the dashboard and will presumably serve as the main control for most functions of the vehicle. The doors seem to sport no physical controls - the window controls and door handles are conspicuous by their absence. Innovative ideas have also made their way into Opel's concept EV. The vehicle's speakers, for example, are integrated in the headrests and are removable: according to Opel, this will allow an out-of-car listening experience, as the passengers may opt for taking their loudspeaker music with them. 

The exterior is distinguished by Opel's latest stylistic creation: the Opel Vizor. The Vizor is a single piece of glass (or potentially other, clear material) which creates a home for the vehicle's front-facing technology and other identifying features. These include the new LED emblem which takes the form of the classic Opel logo, the daytime running lights (DRL), which resemble an iteration of Volvo's Thor's hammer DRL, and presumably, other sensors to ensure the smooth, Level 3 operation of the GT X. The doors of the car open at 90 degree angles for unobstructed access, with the rear doors opening towards the rear-end of the vehicle, instead of the front. Naturally, the moving of the rear door hinges to the back of the vehicle has allowed the elimination of the B-pillar, which guarantees even easier access for passengers.

Opel 3 Article - August 22 2018.jpg

As AutoNews reports, the vehicle will make use of inductive charging to recharge its 50KWh lithium-ion battery and will be Level 3 driving-capable. Interestingly, Opel has steered clear of any bold, autonomous driving claims: even as this car shows Opel's vision for the years ahead of 2025, it does not feature any Level 4/5 autonomy. This is, perhaps, a sign of how far Opel is from achieving full autonomy at this stage. The German automaker has stood as GM's European arm for almost 90 years. GM considered a sale of Opel in 2009 but backed out of the sale and instead, tried to make Opel profitable. The failure of turning Opel over led to it being sold to PSA Group, making the French group the second largest automaker in Europe after the German Volkswagen group. It now remains to be seen whether Opel will perform better under the wings of PSA - although it will lose access to potentially groundbreaking technology developed by some of GM's subsidiaries, like Cruise, it can take advantage of the joint platforms used by the PSA group to cut the design and production costs for some of its best-selling vehicles, such as the Astra and the Corsa. The design of the GT X concept may even provide a hint as to what role Opel will play within the PSA group: a provider of sportier, edgier, high-tech yet affordable German cars for young Europeans? 

Photo Credit: Opel