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Opel: "reach normal people" with electric cars

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Opel has announced that it will electrify its entire passenger car product portfolio by 2024. Then there should be an electric or hybrid variant in every model. The technology for this comes to a large extent from the new parent company PSA, with the Corsa-e was recently presented a new pure Stromer. Chief engineer Christian Müller has in conversation with Edison talked about brand e-mobility plans and technology.

With the part-electric Ampera Opel has offered from 2012 to 2016 as one of the first German carmaker E-mobility in series, then still based on technology of the General Motors Group. The model did not become a bestseller, but nevertheless convinced over 12,000 Opel customers. Now it is "time to reach even ordinary people, to address them and to win for the electric drive," said Müller.

This should succeed especially with the battery variant of the new Corsa. In addition to the fact that the Corsa-e visually does not differ greatly from the Verbrenner versions, said Müller: "The Corsa-e therefore comes without any blinking flashing that identifies him as an electric car. We interviewed our customers. The statement was very clear: We do not want to attract attention as electric vehicles on the road. "

With the Corsa-e Opel dealers would have the chance to convince people who are interested in the regular version of the electric drive. The electric car is deliberately designed so that the driver does not have to get used to it. All drive variants of the Corsa use the same platform and are produced on the same line in the same factories. "These flexible and efficient corporate platforms are an absolute strength because they enable us to respond flexibly to customer demand in these difficult-to-predict times," says Müller.

The Corsa-e creates according to the new WLTP standard 330 kilometers with a battery charge. The range question is in discussions about the electric car "of course, always in the room," said Müller. "But I think 330 kilometers according to the WLTP standard are in most cases absolutely sufficient in everyday life." The 2017 introduced the Ampera-e based on the Chevy Bolt of General Motors have a WLTP range of over 400 kilometers, most buyers would tap at a charge of 80 percent electricity. "That's why I think we have a good offer there," Müller argued.

"Important to be open to other technologies"

Unlike Volkswagen, Opel relies on several technologies for alternative drives. In addition to semi-electric hybrids, the Rüsselsheim also want to bring fuel cell vehicles that generate electricity for the electric drive with hydrogen, in series. "It's important to remain open to other technologies," Müller said in an interview Edison, "There are different application profiles and in the end, the customer decides what meets their individual needs."

The battery electric drive is not always the most sensible solution, says Müller. He believes the fuel cell will "play a major role in the coming decades". The opportunity to replenish energy in three minutes and the opportunity to "store renewable energies from wind and sun in a medium of hydrogen between" have "great charm". Opel also has "clear indications from customers" in the commercial vehicle segment that pure battery drives "often is not the applicable solution."

The PSA Group, to which Opel has been a member for almost two years, has opted for "modern multi-energy platforms" that can be used for various alternative drive systems, Müller said. As a result, Opel "faster to economic solutions" come. With a view to the future prospects of fuel cell power systems, the Opel manager pointed out that there will be hundreds of public hydrogen filling stations in Germany next year. This could be done in Germany without restrictions with hydrogen models.

Assuming that more cars equipped with more cars arrive on the streets, the subject of hydrogen will certainly take over, "Müller said. When the first hydrogen-powered Opel goes into production, he did not want to specify.

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