Descendants Ascendant

The year is 1971: NASA is developing a moon car, the oil crisis is unfolding, and the word of the year is “audacious,” as Georg von Opel, the company’s founder’s grandson, installs an electric motor in an Opel GT. Making an electric sportscar back in the early 70s? This move was like reaching for the stars. But it worked, for the GT electric car could drive at up to 189 km/h, setting multiple world records.

“Opel is going electric,
and we are very proud.”

– Gregor von Opel –

 

Georg’s son, Gregor von Opel, announced, “Opel is going electric, and we are very proud,” as the red-orange Opel Corsa-e behind him, lit up in a lightning storm of flashing cameras, disappeared amidst an encircling crowd. The great-grandson of the company’s founder continued by noting how the day was an extremely special one in light of Georg’s pioneering work on the GT e-car nearly 50 years ago.

 

120 years of carmaking To this day, the “Lutzmann System” still marks the beginning of a new epoch for Opel, and is honored in K48.

 

 

Today, 4 June 2019, Opel is announcing the dawn of the era of electromobility with the unveiling of the Corsa-e and Grandland X Hybrid4 before 300 reporters and invited guests, representing a special event for the Opel family as well. Gregor von Opel, Ivonne Gräfin von Schönburg-Glauchau, and Christoph von Opel have come to K48 at the Opel headquarters in Rüsselsheim – they are descendants of the oldest Opel son, Carl, live in the area, and feel strong ties with the Opel organization.

A family affair: In 1971, Georg von Opel, a grandson of the company’s founder, set six world records for electromobility with the electric Opel GT, capable of speeds of up to 189 km/h. Its range, however, was limited to 44 km.

 

“Opel is more than a brand, it’s a family,” says Ivonne Gräfin von Schönburg-Glauchau, looking almost pensively at the Lutzmann System that was driven across the stage just a few minutes ago in reminiscence of 120 years of carmaking. She said she was very touched by the swell of applause when Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller thanked Opel engineers for their “outstanding job” in developing the Corsa-e: “That is something very special.”

Christoph von Opel also sees the Rüsselsheim-based company as playing a special role: “Other manufacturers are putting electric drive systems in their higher-priced models, but Opel has chosen the Corsa in order to make electric cars available to all car buyers.” As general manager of a communications and design agency, Adam Opel’s great-grandson is especially focused on the aesthetic profile of the new electric car: “This Corsa-e is an extremely pretty car. The rims are such a lovely detail!” And like brand ambassador Jürgen Klopp dryly noted about the Corsa-e in a pre-recorded video for the unveiling: “Looking good always helps.”

 

 

 

 

“Opel, is more than a brand,
it’s a family.

– Ivonne Gräfin von Schönburg-Glauchau –

 

 

What fascinates Charlotte von Opel most is how practical the new e-car is for everyday driving: “A range of 330 kilometers…that’s advertising enough right there!” However impressive the pioneering work of Georg von Opel was back in 1971, the technology was simply by no means mature. The 12-volt batteries used to run the powerful DC electric engines were stacked under the passenger seat…and would be empty after only 44 kilometers.

For the descendants, it is not just a family tradition to play a leading role in e-mobility. They have said they will definitely be ordering one of the two new electric cars. For like Georg von Opel said, “We know that as of this day, Opel is electric.”

A new era: Head of Design Mark Adams presents the new Opel Corsa-e to an audience of 300 reporters and invited guests.

 


June 2019

Photos: Opel