Opel Rocks-E is expected to make its debut in Germany later this year followed by other European markets by early next year
Badge engineering is a common phenomenon in the global automotive industry. This enables automakers to maximise their profits without having to invest much. Over the recent past, we have witnessed many such cross badged models (Maruti Baleno – Toyota Glanza). However, Opel Rocks-e could be the first instance of a badge-engineered electric car.
Essentially the same vehicle as Citroen Ami, it would be incorrect to classify it as an electric car, at least in Europe where it will be mostly focused on. It is an electric quadricycle which essentially means it is a four-wheeled vehicle running on an electric motor. It is similar to what we have in our country in the form of Bajaj Qute which runs on an IC engine.
Exterior Shape & Design
Its appearance is as diminutive as its size yet it would surely grab eyeballs once it is on the road. Front and rear end of the vehicle is dominated by black bumpers which attempt to give it a macho look. The driver’s side door comes rear-hinged while the doors are almost as wide as the wheelbase.
Yellow detailing under the door sills and bumpers create a nice sport contrast with the black and grey colour scheme. The quadricycle rolls on attractive 14-inch wheels with X-shaped alloys. Other exterior highlights include simple round reflector headlamps, circular tail-lamps and a large windscreen. In terms of dimension, Rocks-e measures 1.39 metres wide and 2.41 metres long.
The quadricycle’s miniature size benefits in tight city traffic as it receives a very impressive turning radius of 3.6 metre. This makes it very manageable in tight road conditions. Being such a small vehicle, Rocks-e weighs just 425kg which is even lighter than its donor model and it does have a positive impact on the former’s battery backup.
The funky yellow highlights have been carried from the exterior to inside the cabin as well which wears a minimalist look. Speaking of the cabin, it hosts basic minimum features like a small digital driver display and has space to host only two occupants including the driver. There’s a place on the dashboard to mount one’s phone in addition to a handy storage area running behind the dashboard.
Since it is a rebadged Citroen Ami, Rocks-e gets the same electrical and mechanical specs as the former. This includes a 5.5kWh battery pack which feeds energy to a 6kW electric motor that delivers an output of 8 bhp. The battery pack returns a maximum range of 75 km (47 miles) on a single charge. A top speed of 45 kmph can be achieved on this quadricycle.
It takes more than three hours for the battery to get fully rejuvenated. Due to its friendly specifications, Rocks-e could even be driven by 15-year olds across Europe. Opel has revealed that the EV will be offered in three trim levels- base, Klub and TeKno. Prices of Rocks-e haven’t been revealed yet but it is expected to cost nearly the same as Ami which is pegged at €6,000 (approx. INR 5.20 lakh).