Electric car: Opel Experimental concept vehicle with a “clear vision for the brand”
With the concept vehicle called Experimental, Opel is presenting its ideas for the future of electric cars at the IAA in Munich (September 5 to 10, 2023). Unsurprisingly, it is designed after what has been the trendiest body style for a crossover for some time, and the name deliberately refers to a study that was first shown in 1965. Opel assigns it to the compact C segment. It is intended to present ideas for the future in the fields of aerodynamics, lightweight construction and infotainment. At the same time, it should strengthen an unmistakable brand identity. Opel can happily refer to the result as a design philosophy, and all future models should be shaped by this.
contempt for ornament
Due to the effect of the timeless lines in their “impressive proportions” of the “tapering profile with smooth surfaces”, among other things, decorative elements made of chrome should become superfluous. Interesting that this is mentioned so explicitly, but understandable: A similar disdain for ornament in favor of pure forms became a code for modernity after the chrome excesses of the 1950s. Only the customer always wanted something different. Chrome trim is now socially accepted again, also thanks to the newly developed Far Eastern clientele.
distrust in pattern recognition
The ancient trademark “Blitz” and the later introduced “crease” could initially serve as an anchor of recognition. In the study, it is additionally illuminated, as if one mistrusts the subconsciously automatic pattern recognition in the viewer’s brain. The view then also finds support on the already well-known Opel Vizor, on the Experimental now in its fourth generation. It goes without saying that functional elements such as lidar, radar and camera systems were included in the design from the outset in order to make the lines appear as coherent as possible in the end.
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Unsurprisingly, Opel’s study appears in the form of a crossover.
The aerodynamics no longer rely solely on the shape hardware, they also introduce adaptive elements that can actively shape the flow around or the stall zones depending on the speed and requirements. For example, the diffuser should be extended or retracted depending on the driving situation, and air flaps at the front and rear should also be able to have an influence in order to help increase the efficiency and thus the range of the electric car: Opel wants to be a purely electric brand from 2028. The only new thing is that adaptive aerodynamics – as soon as they are implemented – leave the area of expensive sports cars.
To put it carefully: “sense of space”
Based on its external dimensions, the Opel Experimental can be classified as part of the compact C segment, but offers an interior with the dimensions one would expect from vehicles in the D segment. Well – probably not quite, Opel prefers to speak cautiously of “sense of space”. However, an actual prize would be a gift to anyone who cannot understand why the cars of the past twenty years have become larger and larger on the outside and comparatively narrower on the inside.
Cable instead of cardan
Opel humorously calls the necessary intelligent use of space “Space Detox” and also takes unconventional paths. The steering wheel should be able to be folded away thanks to steer-by-wire technology. And as is always the case with complex engineering-designed devices, everything in the car is related to everything that explains, for example, the major effects of downsizing, where a smaller engine creates a chain of fortunate advantages for the overall product. In Opel’s study, a few lightweight cables replace the steering column with its steel universal joints and sliding piece. The steering thus provides an example of space and weight optimization at the same time.
The subject of “seats” is almost unavoidable at Opel, a subject that has been known to be in good hands at Opel since the “Healthy Back Campaign” at the latest. In the study, Opel shows adaptive lightweight seats that offer a high level of comfort, reduce the overall weight and help to make better use of the space.
projection screens and voice control
The use of augmented projection technology instead of the screens that are dominant today is intended to demonstrate that less can be more. If this eliminates the often dangerously view-distracting control option via the touchscreen, control via natural language commands, supported by artificial intelligence, becomes very important. Opel calls the whole thing “Pure Experience” because a lot can be left out here too.
Bit of bling bling
With all the renunciation: a bit of bling-bling should still help to pick up those who don’t understand the whole purism. For example, “electrochromic materials immerse the passengers in an atmospheric light in the interior and thus convey a high feel-good factor”, whatever is meant by that. So that this doesn’t stop at the level of rainbow-belching unicorns, Opel also refers to the practical achievements of reactive substances. Vehicles in the blind spot should also be able to be displayed as a colored warning on the inside of the respective door.
With the exhibitor, Opel would like to demonstrate its “clear vision for the brand” and is thereby referring to its tradition. In 1965, the Experimental GT was the first European brand to present a design study.
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