GM goes electric in Frankfurt
GM Flextreme promotes electric propulsion with, er, Segways
We're not convinced about the wisdom of this one. GM is using this week's Frankfurt auto show to reiterate its commitment to alternative fuel cars with the unveiling of the Opel Flextreme, a concept plug-in car that builds on the buzz of the E-Flex drive train from the Chevy Volt. The car itself relies on a series hybrid drive train, which combines a lithium-ion powered-electric motor with a biodiesel combustion engine that is used solely for running the electric motor when the battery's charge runs out.
However, as blue-sky as the vehicle's power train may be (lithium-ion batteries have a long way to go before they're ready for production vehicles), that is not the main cause of our concern. What troubles us is the fact that the GM has integrated two Segways into the back of the Flextreme--presumably to highlight its electric-mobility message. Now, we're no marketing mavens, but we suspect that a company trying to promote a fledgling technology would try to avoid association with a device that ended up falling--commercially and physically--flat on its face.