STRANGERS OR FRIENDS?

Opel goes electric

Opel is one of the pioneers of electric mobility: the Opel Ampera celebrated its premiere in 2012, more than 10,000 units were delivered by the Stromer with range extender. The second generation, the Ampera-e, came onto the market in 2017 and has so far made around 4,700 customers happy. In a few weeks, the order books for the all-electric, five-seater Corsa and the Grandland X as a plug-in hybrid will be opened. A total of four electrified Opel models will be available by the end of 2020.

Mareike Keil has always liked the Corsa. Her infatuation started when she was young and still had to sit in the back. Well, most of the time anyway. That’s why the back seat is the first thing she tries out in the new Corsa-e. “It feels exactly the same as sitting in a normal Corsa,” she says. “There’s a good amount of legroom, you’re not restricted by the battery in the floor of the vehicle at all.”

Her husband Manuel nods, hardly surprised by his wife’s assessment: “I’ve already sat in both Corsas at the IAA, the new three-cylinder gasoline engine model and the Corsa-e. There’s really very little difference between the two interiors,” he says. “The Opel engineers have done a great job.” Opel’s electric vehicle is something the Keils may well realistically purchase. This is because both are convinced that electric vehicles mark the best route to a mobile future.

 

Experts have a relaxed chat (from left): Georg Schade, Peter Ramminger, Ampera-e connoisseur Dr. Manfred Hohmeyer, and Sven Möller.

Under the spotlight: Ampera-e enthusiasts have high expectations – even in the finer details.

 

A year ago, they got an Ampera-e and they want to keep it on the road for a while yet, “because it’s a proper family van.” Their son Magnus can only agree with them on that point. Although he likes the Corsa-e, “it’s definitely a bit smaller than our car,” says the seven-year-old, following on from his parents’ assessment of Opel’s new alternative. “But it’s supposed to be, that’s what makes it the ideal city car,” explains Manuel

to his son. There is no father-son chat about the two advantages that the Corsa-e offers: “It can now be charged with three-phase charging, which is obviously much faster,” says dad, knowingly. And: “In the future, every Opel service partner will be able to help if the Corsa-e experiences high-voltage problems.” As Ampera-e drivers, the Keils were limited to a few select dealerships until now.

 

Three Ms relying on “e”: Mareike, Magnus, and Manuel Keil.

 

The Keils came to Hochtanus in Hesse at the invitation of Sven Möller. The lively Hamburg native has sent out invites to Ampera-e Meetups three times now, with this one taking place at the Hotel Collegium in Glashütten. Around 30 electric vehicle enthusiasts answered his call to dedicate an entire weekend to their passion for alternative automobiles. One of the items on the agenda is a trip to Rüsselsheim (where else?), where the close-knit circle of friends wants to visit the former Opel factory and the old Opel race track.

 

 

“The Opel engineers have done a great job.”

– Manuel Keil –

 

Three distinguished experts in all things Corsa-e join the Ampera-e connoisseurs in the form of Opel Chief Engineer Peter Ramminger, Program Manager Georg Schade, and Communications Expert Christopher Rux. They want to present the idea and concept behind the new electric vehicle to the e-pioneers and have even brought a showpiece with them to explore and try out the seating.

The Rüsselsheim delegation know that nobody here needs any more convincing of the future viability of e-mobility, it’s just the car itself that needs to impress. And it succeeds with aplomb.

 

 

Pierre and Supannee Montheil travelled all the way from Basel to be part of the first look at the Corsa-e in Hochtaunus.

 

“I absolutely love how smoothly it runs and the acceleration – it’s just great.”

– Supannee Montheil –

“It looks very sleek and it’s well made,” acknowledges Pierre Montheil, who travelled from Basel in Switzerland to be here. However, he has to admit that getting into his Ampera-e is easier: “I’m slowly getting to the age where you have to pay attention to these types of things.” But he would have to take the Corsa-e on a longer test drive first before he was able to give a more definitive verdict, even though he is pretty certain it’ll be a pleasure for him seeing as he generally enjoys driving electric vehicles. His wife Supannee feels the same way: “I absolutely love both how smoothly it runs and the acceleration – it’s just great.”

 

An electric family: Reiner Müller, proud Ampera-e owner and daughter Silvana, who is hoping to purchase the Corsa-e.

 

“The design is beautiful.”

– Reiner Müller –

 

“The design is beautiful,” says Reiner Müller, an early pioneer of electric vehicles. “Back in the 1990s, I used to ride a Charly e-scooter made at the MZ plants around the Ore Mountains, and e-bikes as well, long before they were popular.” He might also be tempted by the Corsa-e in the future – “but at the moment I’m not willing to give up my Ampera-e.”

His daughter Silvana, on the other hand, has given it slightly more thought. She currently rides an electric moped, but she always enjoys riding with her dad on four electrified wheels – “it’s pure pleasure, every time.” However, an Ampera-e would be too expensive for her, but the Corsa-e, on the other hand, might be something she could afford. “We’ll see…”

 

The organizer: Sven Möller also planned the third Ampera-e Meetup.

 

“When I grow up, I also drive electrically.”

– Magnus Keil –

For Manuel Keil, on the other hand, the matter has already been decided: “When I grow up, I also drive electrically,” he explains resolutely. So he only has to wait eleven years before he can get behind the wheel himself. Or? “When you’re tall, you don’t drive yourself anymore, we all drive autonomously,” predicts Mother Mareike. We will see …


October 2019

Text: Eric Scherer, Photos: Alex Heimann