Meet the 1971 Opel Elektro GT – the EV of yesterday

Car manufacturers are hard at work introducing new electric vehicles every day, but the truth is that electric cars were invented over a century ago.

To prove the point, Opel cleverly decided to showcase one of their early EVs at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It's called the Elektro GT and it was originally built in 1971.

Georg Von Opel, the grandson of Adam Opel, decided to attempt a new record at the Hockenheimring in the early 70s to prove that electric cars could be just as competitive around a racetrack as petrol-powered cars. The Elektro GT was based on the Opel GT and it had been modified with a new streamlined front fascia and covered wheels to make it more aerodynamically efficient.

The four-cylinder petrol from the original GT was replaced by two electric motors from Bosch. Each unit produced 118 hp, thus allowing the car to accelerate from zero to sixty in six seconds. Even though the original goal was to provide it with at least 60 miles worth of range, the GT only had a range of 27 miles but then again, this hadn't been designed to cover great distances. The Elektro GT was a racer.

Modern EVs travel more than 200 or 300 miles on a single charge but the Elektro GT was an impressive engineering achievement for the time, only limited by the technology of the day.

Opel has recently introduced an electric version of the new Corsa and the German brand, now part of PSA Groupe, and the CEO Michael Lohscheller has confirmed that the entire lineup will be electrified by 2024. There are also plans for four new electric vehicles in the next few years. The Vivaro Electric will arrive in 2020, followed shortly after by the Combo Life, the Combo Cargo and the Zafira Line in 2021.

Lohscheller wouldn't go into specifics but he did confirm that the Zafira Line will also include an option for a fuel cell powertrain.

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