The Saturn Flextreme Plug-in Concept debuted at the 2008 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, MI, featuring General Motors’ breakthrough E-Flex electric propulsion technology that provides up to 34 miles of all-electric, emissions-free range. The onboard engine creates additional electricity to extend the vehicle’s driving range to a total of 444 miles (715 km).
A collaborative effort between Saturn and GM’s European Opel brand, the Flextreme concept was developed to showcase the future design direction of both brands, which share many similar customer traits. This design partnership has resulted in several highly successful production vehicles in the U.S. and Europe such as the Saturn Aura; the Saturn Sky and Opel GT; Saturn Vue and Opel Antara; and the Saturn Astra and Opel Astra. The Flextreme concept debuted as an Opel at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show.
The Flextreme also represents Saturn’s ongoing commitment to deliver vehicles that use less fuel and produce fewer emissions. Unlike conventional vehicles and gas-electric hybrids, the Saturn Flextreme concept features GM’s E-Flex System that uses an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery to propel it for up to 34 miles of electric-drive-only range. The battery can be recharged at a household outlet in just three hours. On the road, a clean and efficient 1.3L turbo-diesel onboard engine generates additional electricity to replenish the battery and extend the vehicle’s driving range. Fully charged, the Flextreme’s 34-mile, all-electric driving range is enough for most daily commuters in the U.S. to travel without using any fuel or emitting any CO2.
Saturn’s commitment to innovation and clean transportation is further illustrated by the two high-tech electric Segway® Personal Transporters ingeniously packaged below the Flextreme’s cargo floor. With a twist of the handlebar-mounted release, the handlebar retracts and rotates downward for easy loading into the rear compartment. Once docked, the batteries of these modified Segways can be charged along with the Flextreme’s batteries.
In keeping with Saturn’s philosophy of challenging conventional thinking, the Flextreme concept design team set out to create a vehicle that combined GM’s E-Flex chassis with a body style that is dynamic, yet efficiently makes the best use of space. To do so, it uses the FlexDoors® and FlexLoad® systems, two innovative, customer-focused solutions that enhance the Flextreme’s functionality.
With the FlexDoors system, access to the rear cargo area is through two butterfly-style rear tailgate doors that individually swing open upward along the central axis of the vehicle. This thoughtful feature allows the Flextreme’s trunk to be accessible from the side when parked tightly against a wall or another vehicle, or when a bicycle rack is fitted on the rear.
The rear doors are another key distinguishing feature of the Flextreme. While the front doors open in the conventional manner, the rear doors are rear-hinged. And as there is no center roof pillar (B-pillar), opening both doors on one side creates a large opening for easy entry. For families, this feature is especially useful when securing child seats and children into the rear seating positions.