Frankfurt 2011: Opel RAK e Concept

#Opel

Thundering drum-and-bass music accompanied the debut of the Opel RAK e, pronounced rack-ee, a tiny two-seat electric concept. Opel says it "combines a fighter jet-like fuselage with an advanced drivetrain." We say it looks a bit weird, what with it's exposed rear wheels and super-skinny body.

Still, the underlying technology is impressive. A lithium-ion battery provides up to 62 miles of range per charge. The car can reach up to 74 mph thanks to an electric motor rated at 49 hp and 43 lb-ft of torque.

Access is gained by unlocking the RAK e with a smartphone app. The clear canopy slides forward and up to allow entry and exit. The two seats are positioned in tandem formation, essentially a 1+1 arrangement, and the driver's seat flips forward to allow access to the rear seat.

The car is built on a steel space frame and uses lots of recyclable, lightweight materials. Opel didn't specify what they are, but we'd wager carbon fiber and aluminum play a big role. Curb weight is a claimed 836 pounds.

"Not only is RAK e cool, fun, and sexy," said Opel design vice president Mark Adams, "It's very livable and practical. It demonstrates how [Opel is] constantly experimenting."

Because it takes just three hours to charge on a European outlet, the Opel RAK e apparently costs only one euro for every 62 miles driven. That helps keep the car affordable, and would also make it ideal for young people. In fact, Europeans as young as 16 would be allowed to drive the car on public roads because of its low top speed and certain other characteristics. In most European countries, teens can't drive until they're 17 or 18.

For full, live coverage of the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, please click here. We’re bringing the latest news, photos, and quotes straight to our twitter feed, @automobilemag.

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