Ronal Group, known as a technology and innovation leader, presented the ‘Energy Wheel’ at the Essen Motor Show last year. This wheel generates energy by means of a generator whilst driving. Now for the first time this technology has been installed in a concept car from an automobile manufacturer: the Opel Experimental. The concept car, including this wheel, will influence the design of future Opel models.
Opel’s visionary design study will celebrate its world premiere in front of an international audience at the IAA Mobility show in Munich from September 5th to 10th. The concept car from the Rüsselsheim-based automaker points to the future and displays the direction of future development of the brand.
Florian Theis, Chief Designer Future Concepts at Opel, explains the clear design philosophy that characterises the concept car as follows: “The Opel Experimental shows the next evolution step of our Bold&Pure design language: Pure sculptural surfaces combined with technical and precise details. The wheel with its machined and aero-efficient design is playing here a key role.”
The futuristic wheels for the Opel Experimental were manufactured and supplied by Ronal Group. The 23-inch wheels with a turbine blade look feature at their center the hexagonal hub cap with the recently unveiled new Opel lightning logo – and which now thanks to the Ronal Energy Wheel technology can be illuminated. Behind the hub cap, not visible from the outside, lies a concealed LED lighting system of high efficiency and durability. The LEDs are supplied with energy from a rechargeable battery; this energy makes the Opel emblem glow white.
The underlying concept is “energy harvesting”, i.e. generating energy from the rotational movement of the wheel. A generator produces energy independently while driving and stores it in a battery. No maintenance is required as the battery needs neither replacing nor recharging.
The Energy Concept Wheel has been patented by Ronal Group. Felix Schäfer, Group Department Head Innovation at Ronal Group, elaborates: “We are proud that our power generation technology is already being used in a concept study by a major OEM like Opel. This confirms the trend that lighting will also be used on wheels in the future. Opel has succeeded in transferring the range of potential applications for the technology into a design study that is visually very high-quality and appealing. As a reliable partner, turning our customers’ visionary ideas into reality is something we always look forward to.”
The wheels of the Opel Experimental also feature other special touches. Particularly characteristic is the three-zone design, which has a light blue metallic shimmer and has been matched to the colour of the car.
The tightly closed design and the integrated aero flaps bear witness to the importance of the aerodynamics of the wheels. These ensure aerodynamic efficiency and, especially in the case of e-vehicles, enable a longer range because they offer less air resistance. The aero flaps are made not from carbon fibres but instead from sustainable natural fibres.
Flax fibres have properties similar to those of carbon fibers, but their natural origin means they are much more sustainable. The wheel flaps are a good example of a correct combination of performance and sustainability.
The technical, visionary look of the wheels is rounded off by the grooved structure of the design which extends right out to the tyre, making the wheel appear visually even larger and more futuristic, and necessitating close collaboration with the tyre manufacturer. “Through this cooperation based on trust we have been able to create an impressive structure that goes beyond conventional wheel designs. The wheel and tyre appear as a single piece,” explains Raphaël Ballu, project manager at Ronal Group. “As a wheel manufacturer, we have many options and technologies in our portfolio to implement the individual design wishes of our customers.”
The visionary Opel Experimental concept car can be seen at the IAA Mobility show in Munich from September 5th to 10th.
For more information: www.ronalgroup.com
Imagecopyright: Opel Automobile GmbH
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