“You design it, we build it“: Opel kept its promise and built the winning design handed in by Lukas Wenzhöfer.

Offroad to the e-XTREME

The gate to the concept workshop swings open. A unique model drives out with wheels that are prominently positioned outwards, an amazing spoiler and a bright yellow roll bar. “That’s even more extreme on the photos!” Lukas Wenzhöfer beams. It’s been a good eleven months since the 27-year-old sent the design data to Opel. Now the “Design Hack” winner takes a seat on the factory premises at the headquarters in Rüsselsheim for the first time – in the Opel Rocks e-XTREME. An electric vehicle with a wow factor, built according to his ideas and designs.

Because Opel took the design competition’s claim “You design it, we build it” literally and turned the design into reality step by step. In doing so, the company has opened doors that are usually hard to pry open in the industry and allowed the Opel community to participate in the construction of a concept vehicle. The locally emissions-free light motor vehicle à la Wenzhöfer has attracted a lot of interest at various events, including the IAA Mobility in Munich. Today, the man behind the idea gets to test drive the vehicle.

The winner of the “Design Hack” competition visits Rüsselsheim.
Lukas Wenzhöfer test drives his brainchild.
The Opel team turned his design into reality.
The challenge winner gave chassis an extensive upgrade.
The name says it all: The Rocks e-XTREME pushes driving pleasure to the max.
Opel Brand Manager Peter Junghanns invited the winner to the test drive.

“A lot of sweat, work and know-how went into this project.“

– Mario Heymann, Manager Concept Workshop

And the mechanics, designers, engineers and service providers who created the locally emissions-free off-roader don’t want to miss this either. “A lot of sweat, work and know-how went into this project,” says Mario Heymann, Manager of the Rüsselsheim Concept Workshop. Bringing this unique piece to life was also new territory for the specialists: “Staying as close to the design as possible was just one part,” says Heymann. The much trickier part was converting the styling idea into a functional vehicle.

“One that drives, steers and brakes,” emphasises lead project engineer Herbert Langguth. To do this, the specialists ran, fine-tuned and tinkered with the design data countless times through construction programs. The chassis was a particular challenge. Because the Challenge winner has given it an extensive upgrade: the fenders are lavishly dimensioned, the wheels with cross tires go far beyond the limits. To achieve this, the mechanics gave the off-roader a double wishbone axle at the front, as well as 50 millimetre aluminium racing springs. They also swallow uneven surfaces.

The wild offspring: The production version of the Opel Rocks Electric (right) was named “Best New Design of 2022” in the “Mini Cars” category at the “autonis” awards. The Opel Rocks e-XTREME goes one better and increases the driving fun of the electric quadricycle.

A feature from Opel motorsport history is also making a comeback with the concept vehicle: “We gave the Rocks e-XTREME an original German Touring Car Championship spoiler that originally belonged to a Vectra GTS V8,” reveals mechanic and design specialist Michael Splieth . The off-road theme was clear to him from the start, says Lukas Wenzhöfer. “The Rocks Electric makes young people aged 15 and over mobile – I wanted to further intensify this feeling of freedom,” he describes his thoughts and delivers a version that also achieves its goal off the road. “My design is intended to show that e-mobility is more than just a sensible solution, but rather pure driving pleasure.”

Speaking of which – Lukas Wenzhöfer puts on the bright yellow seatbelt and turns the control to “Drive”. The electric quadricycle, programmed for driving fun, wants to be moved. The power is doubled compared to the normal Rocks Electric – meaning: 12 kW of continuous power and 25 kW of peak power. That’s 16 or 34 hp. The young designer drives off. The Rüsselsheim factory premises are his habitat. “It’s simply not possible to be street legal with the lavishly flared wheels,” says Herbert Langguth, as the electric quadricycle disappears around the next corner.

“The Rocks Electric makes young people aged 15 and over mobile – I wanted to further intensify this feeling of freedom.”

Lukas Wenzhöfer, Designer of the Rocks e-XTREME – 

Motorsports nod: The impressive spoiler once belonged to a Vectra touring car.
Stefano Lamelza (right) checks the attachment points of the spoiler, while Michael Splieth (in the background) works on giving the design concept typical “buggy” driving characteristics.
Parts like the Opel Vizor or the lush fenders come from the 3D printer.
In the first step, the Concept Workshop team completely dismantled a standard, serial production Rocks Electric.
More power: The electric motor has 12 kW of continuous power and 25 kW of peak power.
Attention to detail: The specially made 50mm spring system with aluminium shock absorbers including coil spring strut from H&R Spezialfedern carry the name of the unique vehicle.

Even so, the concept team faced plenty of challenges. Support was provided by long-standing service providers. Add-on parts such as the fenders or the Opel Vizor come from the 3D printer – “to keep the vehicle weight low and to support the performance of the electric motor,” says Alexander di Maglie from 4D Concepts, the specialists in prototype and model building services from Groß-Gerau. The bi-functional LED daytime running lights integrated into the Vizor come from Lightworks, a service provider that was already involved in the neoclassic Manta GSe. “When Opel calls, exciting projects are always guaranteed,” says Philipp Kolb, electronics specialist for the supplier of lighting solutions.

A note that Lukas Wenzhöfer, who is back from his test drive, also agrees with, nodding: “This,” he says, “is even better than I hoped.” The Rocks e-XTREME blew him away: “The direct feedback the steering, the handling, the feeling when you turn sharply into the corner – it couldn’t be better.“ His thanks go to the entire Opel team: „Not only did you implement the design in a cool way, but you also kept me involved throughout the process – great!”

The Opel Rocks e-XTREME will be on display at the Essen Motorshow from December 2 to 10 (Hall 7, booth A10).

“Not only did you implement the design in a cool way, but you also kept me involved throughout the process – great!”

Challenge winner Lukas Wenzhöfer

Some of the team that made the Rocks e-XTREME a reality (clockwise starting at the passenger door):Philipp Kolb, Mario Heymann, Hasan Cicek, Peter Junghanns, Quentin Huber, Michael Splieth, Alexander di Maglie and Stefano Lamelza. Further team member on the right side: Roman Rudek, Martin-Günter Göbel, Antony Bailey, Lukas Wenzhöfer, Herbert Langguth, Michael Dahlke, Simon Gross, Christoph Adam and Alexander Maus.

The team behind the Opel Rocks e-XTREME

Lukas Wenzhöfer

Initiators of the #OPELDESIGNHACKS
Rebecca Reinermann, Quentin Huber, Philipp Quanz

Florian Huettl, Mark Adams, Elena Funk, Jessica Thön, Florian Theis

Projekt lead
Peter Junghanns, Christoph Adam, Philipp Quanz

Engineering, Electrics & Workshop Team
Herbert Langguth, Mario Heymann, Michael Splieth, Stefano Lamelza, Roman Rudek, Martin-Guenter Göbel, Simon Gross, Hasan Cicek, Michael Dahlke, Alexander Maus, Antony Leslie Bailey, Peter Jung Manuel Kochen, , Robert Giessmann, Markus Rockenbach, Lutz Uhlenbruch, Zhi Zhang, Jürgen Jakobi, Alexander Radtke, Philipp Hoffmann, Christof Fähnrich, Uwe Rheinganz, Alexander di Maglie (4D Concepts GmbH), Philipp Kolb (Lightworks GmbH), Selim Bilgic (H&R Spezialfedern)

Patrick Munsch, David Hamprecht, Axel Seegers, Colin Yong, Natalia Pagano, Carina Elsinger, Mark Bennett

Social Media
Philipp Quanz, Christoph Adam, Lucas Ripperger

November 2023

Photos: Chris Adam, Andreas Liebschner