Opel MONZA Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle (CONCEPT)

Written By: Brittney B.

                                       Opel Monza PHEV Concept     © GM Company

In September 2013, Opel used the Frankfurt Motor Show as an opportunity to unveil their latest plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV): the Opel Monza. The innovative and eco-friendly vehicle represents Opel's promise to prioritize connectivity and efficiency in the years (and models) ahead.

A concept coupe for a newer, smarter generation

Opel is based in Germany but shares a partnership — which includes exchanging technologies — with GMC. If the old-fashioned American automaker hopes to refresh their lineup's look for a new generation, they may take design cues from the Monza's distinct exterior and interior. Futuristic details include a customizable, wraparound LED display that's powered by 18 interior projectors, as well as a pair of side-spanning gullwing doors. Opel even employed a lighter aluminum cylinder block and balanced everything to reduce noise, vibration and drag.

The Opel Monza's contoured, aerodynamic design is complemented by a slightly more down-to-earth innovation: a powertrain that consists of an electric motor and 1.0-liter, three-cylinder natural gas engine. These combine to increase the Monza's torque and efficiency, and the range-extending engine sets it apart from electric cousins like the Chevrolet Volt.

Borrowing inspiration from the past

A few months before Opel debuted the Monza, they discontinued its predecessor. The Opel Ampera, a plug-in vehicle, was basically a restyled, rebranded Chevrolet Volt. The news came as GM worked on a complete redesign of the Volt, set to arrive later in 2015. Depending on the details of the next Volt release, the Monza could follow the Ampera's lead to become a rebranded version of that American-made best-seller.

After the Ampera's poor performance in Europe, sales are particularly important to Opel. If they can perfect a practical, stylish plug-in vehicle, they may be able to replicate the Volt's success overseas. However, the Monza's all-electric inspiration still has better range and efficiency than the Monza, which itself has a gas-powered namesake. From 1978 through 1986 in Europe (and 1975 through 1980 in North America, under the Chevrolet brand), the Opel Monza was a speedy coupe that underwent a series of different engines, including a pair of heavy engines that were replaced by a lighter — and more efficient — fuel injection system. It was Opel's fastest car to date, as well as the first-ever car to feature an LCD dashboard display.

Now, for another sign of things to come, the plug-in Monza has the potential to drastically change the future direction of Opel's style and engineering choices. Long aware of the environmental and economic implications of their manufacturing techniques, Opel is finally attempting to appeal to savvy European drivers who want to enjoy powerful, eco-friendly, and innovative cars.

Opel Monza PHEV Concept     © GM Company