SUM instead of SUV: With the Rocks-E, Opel wants to redefine mobility in inner cities. Even 15-year-olds can drive the 2.41 meter short two-seater.
How can individual mobility be designed in inner cities in the future? Will bicycles and e-scooters really form the backbone of urban transport in the future? When will autonomous people movers "on demand" bring people in the city from the pick-up point to the desired destination? Or will we eventually only get from A to B through the air? There are many more and less realistic scenarios in this regard. Combustion engine-powered SUVs feature in almost none of them.
Maybe the "SUM" will soon replace the soft off-road vehicles that are often used for city trips? Opel uses this abbreviation for its new model, the Rocks-E. It stands for S usable U rban M obility ("sustainable urban mobility"), and the Rocks-E aims to be the "answer to the mobility needs of our time". Among other things, due to its dimensions: With a length of 2.41 meters and a width of 1.39 meters (without exterior mirrors), the Rüsselsheim offshoot of the almost identical model Ami from Stellantis sister company Citro�n takes up little traffic space, the turning circle is only 7 ,20 metres. And at 471 kilograms (including the traction battery), it officially qualifies as a light vehicle.
Opel Rocks-E for 15-year-olds
This leads to a special feature: This classification means that the Opel Rocks-E with driver's license class AM can be driven by 15-year-olds. This is typically a scooter or moped license. But since the last amendment to the driving license regulation, four-wheeled vehicles can also be moved with it, provided they do not offer more than two seats, have a maximum output of six kW (eight hp), drive at 45 km/h and weigh a maximum of 425 kilograms. The small Opel is heavier when ready to drive; but according to a spokesman, what counts here is the net weight without the battery, which is below the legally permitted threshold.
By the way: Opel considers a battery capacity of 5.5 kilowatt hours to be sufficient for the Rocks-E. The battery should allow a WLTP range of 75 kilometers and can be fully charged at the household socket in three and a half hours. The three meter long cable is permanently connected to the SUM and can be pulled out of the passenger door if required. Opel offers an adapter for charging at a public charging station.
The best way to tell where the Rocks-E is at the front and where is at the back is by looking at the color of the light. This is intentional: as many identical parts as possible at the front and rear lead to low parts and production costs. That's why Opel installed identical doors on both sides.This entails another peculiarity: the door on the passenger side swings forward as usual; the driver's counterpart, on the other hand, is attached at the rear.
Lots of plastic, some color
Large areas of the class L6e cart are made of plastic, with accents in the lower area bringing color into play. Headlights and indicators work with LED technology, and the side windows can only be opened halfway instead of being fully lowered. Thanks to the large, largely upright window surfaces, the Rocks-E should offer a good all-round view. Typical city car: the 14-inch wheels are pushed far into the corners. This creates space in the interior.
There are also unusual solutions here. Compared to the driver's seat, the one on the passenger side is set back. This not only maximizes the legroom, but also creates space for a 63 liter storage space in the footwell. But there should also be enough space behind the valance for people over 1.90 meters tall, and there is a hook provided for shopping bags. The panoramic glass roof is free of charge on board.
The display behind the valance shows the speed, driving mode (forward, reverse and neutral), battery charge level and the remaining range. The driver's own smartphone serves as the infotainment screen. It is housed in a holder to the right of the steering wheel and maintains contact with the outside world via the My Opel app.
Opel Rocks-E in three equipment lines from 7,990 euros
Opel will be offering the new Rocks-E in Germany from autumn via online sales or through selected dealers; further markets are to follow in 2022. Three equipment lines are planned: In addition to the basic model, the model versions Klub and Tekno are available. What the variants will be equipped with is currently just as unknown as the price. So far, it has only been said that the starting price will be "significantly below that of a small car" and "the leasing rate will be on the monthly level of a ticket for local public transport". "Its price is unbeatable," promises Opel Germany boss Andreas Marx. Specifically, Opel wants to have from 7,990 euros for the Rocks-E. The sister model Citroën Ami starts in France at at least 6,990 euros; leasing costs just under 20 euros a month.
In the Opel Rocks-E instead of by bike, by public transport or by scooter to school or an apprenticeship? Whether this calculation by the Stellantis brand works out will depend primarily on the final price. The "SUM" seems to be cool and well thought out. However, the future will have to tell whether it will eventually be referred to as the forefather of a new class of vehicle.