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.
“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.
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 –
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 –
The team behind the Opel Rocks e-XTREME
Initiators of the #OPELDESIGNHACKS
Rebecca Reinermann, Quentin Huber, Philipp Quanz
Florian Huettl, Mark Adams, Elena Funk, Jessica Thön, Florian Theis
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
Philipp Quanz, Christoph Adam, Lucas Ripperger