Jul 31, 2012

'iVauxhall' for teens

'iVauxhall' for teensA two-seater electric concept looks cool and will be cheap and fun to use. The car fights back against teenager indifference

Personal mobility 'solutions' are the rage - after all, why go on foot or on a bicycle when you can ride in a cigar-shaped podule controlled by a gyroscope? Mindful of such Luddite cynicism Vauxhall/Opel have arrived at the personal mobility party armed with a new target audience: teenagers.

You're looking at the RAKe, a lightweight, tandem-seater electric vehicle concept. It can 'do the maths', as they say, with a 100-km range, 120 km/h top speed, 380 kg kerb weight, compact three-metre length and enough punch to make motorway driving feasible (though good luck dicing with those 18-wheel Polish juggernauts in a 119-cm high plastic buggy).

But let's be fair, the RAKe is every bit as wieldy and well conceived as recent offerings from Audi (Urban Concept) and VW (Nils) and has a positive whiff of mainstream when considered next to GM's other recent personnel pod, the Tron-like EN-V.

What's really interesting about the RAKe is the target audience. 'We want to develop electric vehicles that everyone can afford,' says Vauxhall/Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke. 'We aim to deliver pricing that even young people - even teenagers - can afford.

More revealingly, Vauxhall say the RAKe 'is packaged to appeal to a young and eco/technology savvy audience to whom the cool looks of an electric vehicle are as important as its energy consumption'. Manufacturers appear to be waking up to a truth we have been observing for some time: that young people have become disenfranchised from car ownership, disillusioned with the escalating cost of motoring and less in need of the 'freedom' a car brings, because more of their social interaction is now conducted electronically.

So, if, as Vauxhall suggests, the RAKe is cheap to buy, run, insure and fix, plus it creates no tailpipe emission and looks as cool as, say, an iPad, then maybe they've hit on something. It's not just the technology, it's the sell.
'iVauxhall' for teens'iVauxhall' for teens'iVauxhall' for teens'iVauxhall' for teens'iVauxhall' for teens

No comments: