Opel takes the electric route – but SA models stick with diesel

Groupe PSA’s Opel brand is planning to launch an electrically driven version of its medium-sized van, the Vivaro, early next year. The move follows the introduction of a plug-in hybrid version of the Grandland X SUV in Europe, as well as an all-electric Corsa.

“The Vivaro-e marks the next chapter in Opel’s electrification strategy. The brand is committed to delivering eight electrified models by 2021 and electrifying its entire product portfolio by 2024, as part of its PACE! strategic plan,” says a statement issued by the company.

The Vivaro-e is based on Groupe PSA’s highly variable EMP2 platform, which enables the use of conventional as well as electrified powertrains. The new model will offer customers the choice of two battery sizes – a
50 kWh unit that offers a driving range of about  200 km, or a 75 kWh version that extends the range to about 300 km.

Though unlikely to be launched in South Africa until much later, a spokesman for Opel says the growing market for mid-size delivery vans here has prompted the brand to schedule the introduction of the third-generation Vivaro – on which the electrified version is based – in the first quarter of next year.

Developed at Opel’s Rüsselsheim headquarters in Germany, derivatives in the range will be powered by a choice of diesel engines, while body styles have been tailored to cater to different needs, configurations suited to carry only cargo, only passengers or a combination of the two.

“The new Vivaro’s appeal is not only based on load-carrying capability and passenger car-like technologies,” says the spokesman. “In addition to state-of-the-art engines, smooth-shifting transmissions (including an eight-speed automatic) contribute to efficiency and comfort, which is highly important, especially for the fleet market. Also, service intervals of up to 50 000 km reduce operating costs.”

Compared with its predecessor, the new model is said to offer a higher payload and numerous new technologies and assistance systems. Derivatives are expected in showrooms from early next year.

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