First held in 1905, the Geneva Auto Show is considered a very big deal, and along with Detroit and Tokyo, one of the most important auto showcases in the world. Since Switzerland doesn’t have its own domestic auto industry, car companies see Geneva as neutral territory and often use the event to show off new prototypes and equipment, brag about technical breakthroughs and discuss deals, alliances and strategies. The Salon International de l’Auto (as it’s known in French) is also known as the place where high-end automakers show off their high-price supercars. But just as intriguing as the backroom deals and the unobtainable, gold-plated sports cars is the section of the show devoted to the future, the International Advanced Mobility Forum.
As a company, Opel (which goes by the name Vauxhall in the UK) hasn’t been that engaged in hybrids or electric car technologies. Last year they unveiled an electric concept car called the Rak-e, but that car has yet to see production and Opel isn’t saying if—or when—it ever will.
Instead, this year’s Geneva show finds Opel offering a new, two-wheel concept called the Rad-e, which Opel is touting as their “vision of the future.” The Rad-e is a 250-watt e-bike that the company is positioning as both a complement to the Rak-e concept and to the the brand’s existing e-mobility strategy.
Opel hasn’t released many details about the bike and they are keeping images of the new concept close to the vest, but we do know that the Rad-e will be battery powered and have a range of between 37 and 90 miles.
What makes the RAD-e special, says Opel, is that it’s the first battery bike to be built around automotive construction and production principles, although the company didn’t elaborate on what those principals actually where or how they’d be employed.
With the unveiling of the Rad-e, Opel is joining both Smart and Ford as automakers who are taking a serious look at electric bikes. Smart’s bike, a 250 watt, three speed with regenerative braking is scheduled to go into production this year. Ford’s concept features 350-watts of power paired to an ultralight frame and a sleek, race-inspired look.