Thick fog has swallowed up the Frankfurt skyline, a cold, wet veil hovers over the Main River, a few sluggish ducks languish on the water. But gloom is as far away as the next summer day at the swimming pool for the group that has gathered between the glass façade of the European Central Bank and the two loading cranes: animated snatches of conversation can be heard, the external dimensions of the vehicle are estimated with long steps, door handles are inspected, and information is exchanged about the passenger door swinging forward while the driver’s door opens to the rear.
A female pedestrian heads towards the scene and asks with raised eyebrows, “What is this delightful thing?” It is an Opel Rocks-e, an emission-free light vehicle with a bold design. A good-mood booster. For a fortnight in November, 130 media representatives stopped by in small groups at the “Oosten” restaurant on the northern bank of the Main. Opel invited them here to present the new electric urban car. And among the guests on this wet and cold Friday morning, in the best Opel tradition, are also some employees.
“It’s really cool, cruising through the city seeing the skyline through the panorama roof!”
“That was my first time with e-drive: Accelerating and braking – totally easy!”
They were able to participate in the press event after having won the Internal Communications raffle: work-study student Tim Thalheimer and trainee Elias Ünaldi are taking part, work-study student Julius Schwendt has brought his father Wolfram, and Opel colleague Jan Bordasch has brought his son Finn. First there is a lot of information at a press conference (see interview below), then the group gets ready for a 100 per cent electric test drive through downtown Frankfurt. The father and son teams share a vehicle, the two trainees Tim Thalheimer and Elias Ünaldi are each assigned their own vehicle – in keeping with COVID safety regulations.
The latter does not even have a driving licence yet. But he can still drive. That’s because the 471-kilogramme lightweight car can be driven in Germany by young people from 15 years of age who hold the AM driving licence. This is not only his first drive in an electric car, but his first car drive ever, explains the 17-year-old. Although, “It’s not a car, we just learned that in the press conference.” Elias Ünaldi takes a seat, starts the SUM – which stands for “Sustainable Urban Mobility” – with the big key. The display comes to life. It shows speed, driving mode, battery charge level and remaining range. Now he presses the D button to the left of the driver’s seat, places his hand casually on the steering wheel – it already all looks right. The convoy rolls off almost silently and joins the city traffic behind the Central Bank.
“The Rocks-e kept up easily in Frankfurt’s city traffic. 45 km/h is enough.“
“I can imagine the vehicle being interesting for courier or home care services.”
The mood when everyone returns is fantastic. The participants talk about the view of the skyline through the large panorama roof. They talk about how the SUM has no problem keeping up with the big cars right from the traffic lights: “I even took on a sports car,” says Tim Thalheimer with a broad grin. From 0 to 45 km/h in about ten seconds – that’s fine. And everyone brought back an anecdote of waving passers-by, smiling faces and “thumbs up” gestures from other road users. The fact that the Rocks-e is a good-mood booster has already been recorded in the reports of media representatives who took part in the event. In the Oosten restaurant, over hot soup and steaming tea, impressions are shared and potential target groups are sounded out. “Pizza delivery man – then he won’t get wet”, “Maybe it would be something for grandpa?” are two options. Jan Bordasch leans forward, looks around and draws a conclusion: “Compact dimensions, zero emissions, lots of driving fun: I think we have just experienced the future of mobility in the city here.”
“I am sure of it: This is what the future looks like in the city – compact and emission-free.”
“Although the Rocks-e is just 2.41 metres long, there is plenty of room inside.”
“The Rocks-e is above all a
coherent overall concept.”
We talked to product communicator Jan-Philipp Kreß and product manager Keanu Eftekhari
about the potential target groups, sales and prices of the Opel Rocks-e.
In the presentation you emphasise: “The Rocks-e is not a car”. It is classified as a light motor vehicle, it can be driven in Germany by young people from 15 years of age who hold the AM driving licence. Why is that possible?
Jan-Philipp Kreß: A corresponding amendment came into force in 2021, so that this regulation applies nationwide. In this way, legislation is supporting the mobility needs of young people – especially on the way to school or apprenticeships. And Opel shows with the Rocks-e: we are always rethinking the topic of mobility beyond conventional solutions.
So the electric SUM is designed specifically for young people – as “My first Opel”?
Keanu Eftekhari: Sure, the Rocks-e perfectly closes the gap between the two-wheeler and car for young people. But not only that. The Opel Rocks-e can also make everyday life much easier for senior citizens and customers who are no longer quite so mobile, and it can preserve or give them back a large part of their quality of life.
Jan-Philipp Kreß: We definitely think more broadly. The Rocks-e is full of possibilities: the Opel SUM also meets the needs of commuters, singles or couples with a sense for sustainable mobility. And the two-person electric vehicle is also suitable for commercial use. Be it for urban courier services or in spacious areas such as airports.
What are the technical specifications?
Keanu Eftekhari: According to WLTP, the range is up to 75 km – and that is 100 per cent electric with a 5.5 kWh battery. The electric urban car can be fully charged in just 3.5 hours – at a normal socket. Opel offers an adapter for charging at public charging stations. So here too, it’s well thought-out and simple.
Jan-Philipp Kreß: The keyword simple: ordering the urban e-car is as easy as placing an Amazon order. It has been available to order online in Germany since November 1. The Opel Rocks-e is above all a coherent overall concept.
What can you reveal about the prices?
Keanu Eftekhari: They are really attractive. The entry price is €7,990, the financing rate will be similar to that of a monthly ticket for local public transportation. And even beyond the purchase price, the Rocks-e is very economical. The annual insurance licence plate costs between 50 and 80 euros. Filling up the tank costs just two euros. The Rocks-e is 100 per cent in line with Opel’s credo of making electric mobility affordable for a broad customer base.
Thank you for the information!