Alpine Summit: Reinhold Messner and the Electric Vans from Opel | Media OPEL International

Alpine Summit: Reinhold Messner and the Electric Vans from Opel


  • “Bergmuseum”: Messner with Opel Vivaro-e and Zafira-e Life at “MMM Corones”
  • Like a Sherpa: Messner relies on Opel Vivaro
  • For nature’s sake: Messner impressed by emissions-free e-LCV
  • Touring electrically: Opel Zafira-e Life as comfortable alpine shuttle
  • Long-standing partnership: Messner and Opel continue their journey together


Rüsselsheim.  Just the right place for a very special summit meeting. The view from Kronplatz in South Tyrol is one of the most beautiful in the Alps. The view stretches from the Dolomites over the Puster Valley to the Zillertal Alps. The “Messner Mountain Museum Corones” (MMM Corones) of mountaineering icon Reinhold Messner is located on this summit plateau. And it is precisely here that the large Opel vans Zafira-e Life and Vivaro-e demonstrate what they have to offer as battery-electric travel and transport vehicles. Opel’s long-standing partner, Reinhold Messner, has taken the opportunity to test the e-vans in the mountains.

Driving the electric vehicles around the “MMM Corones” has yielded a clear result: The Opel vans are suitable for much more than the "last mile" in the city - they also play to their strengths in the mountains of South Tyrol. These range from the emission-free, whisper-quiet drive to recuperation, with which energy can be recovered when driving downhill, thus extending the electric range. Qualities that even the nature lover Messner appreciates.

“The Opel Vivaro has impressed me for years with its reliability and great technology”, says Messner. “It is an ideal means of transport for me, especially when it comes to my museums. The fact that these trips can now also be covered emissions-free with the Vivaro-e and really quietly, with consideration for the wildlife in the mountains, thrills me. That makes it doubly worthwhile to become electrically mobile.”

Opel Vivaro-e: Carries anything; emissions-free drive

Reinhold Messner knows what he likes about the Opel Vivaro. Before the opening of the MMM Corones in 2015, real hands-on work was required. Numerous exhibits had to be transported to the 2,275-metre-high Kronplatz – a mammoth task that Messner tackled with the Vivaro. The mountaineering legend continues to rely on the Opel van and, as a nature lover of course, even more so on the emissions-free electric version.

Messner can also count on full functionality with the Vivaro-e, which was elected “International Van of the Year 2021 (IVOTY)”. Just like its conventionally powered sibling, the Vivaro-e is available in three lengths (S: 4.60 metres, M: 4.95 m and L: 5.30 m) and different body variants, making it the ideal partner for just about any work task. Depending on the variant, the e-LCV offers up to 6.6 cubic metres of load volume and a payload of 1,200 kilograms. Customers can choose between two differently sized lithium-ion batteries: with 75 kWh for a range of up to 329 kilometres (available for Vivaro-e M and L) or with 50 kWh for a maximum of 231 kilometres according to WLTP.

Vivaro-e and Zafira-e Life: At home in mountainous terrain

Plenty of power and especially torque are real plus points in the mountains. With 100 kW/136 hp and 260 Newton metres, the Vivaro-e pulls strongly uphill from the first squeeze of the accelerator, just like its passenger car counterpart, the Zafira-e Life. Thanks to the batteries installed in the underbody, they also have a low centre of gravity and thus particularly stable roadholding. This makes the Zafira-e Life, with its diverse seating configurations for up to nine people, the ideal large-size passenger van for transporting guests quietly and comfortably.

If the electric vans only drive uphill, the maximum range is of course not achievable. But what goes up, must come down. If a diesel descends with an (almost) empty tank, it will eventually run dry despite its low consumption. Not so the Zafira-e Life and Vivaro-e. Their electric motor on the front axle becomes a generator, decelerating the vehicles downhill and at the same time partially recharging the battery. When they reach the valley, the smart Opel vans then drive with enough juice on board to get them to the next fast-charging station, where they can be recharged up to 80 per cent in just 45 minutes (with a 75 kWh battery) or 30 minutes (with a 50 kWh battery).

Reinhold Messner and Opel: Emissions-free mobility is the goal

These achievements also impress Messner, who was the first mountaineer ever to conquer all of the world's 8,000-metre-high peaks. “As you know, living in harmony with nature is very close to my heart, as MMM Corones shows. At the same time, I couldn't live and work without a car because I often can't get to public transport. That's why I'm all the more pleased about Opel's steady course towards electrifying the entire model range – for emission-free mobility with everyday usability”, says the 76-year-old environmental activist.

With the plan to switch to a battery-electric Vivaro-e or Zafira-e Life, Reinhold Messner is continuing his long-standing commitment to Opel. Back in the 1980s, he owned a red Omega 3000 and a four-wheel drive Vectra 2000. Since 1989, the extreme mountaineer has officially been one of Opel's prominent partners. In the 1990s, the book author was an ambassador for the Corsa and drove an Opel Monterey, among other cars. Opel engineers also developed a special sled for his use in a North Pole expedition. And in 2014, he undertook a light-hearted exploration of the Opel Vivaro’s cavernous interior, together with his faithful Sherpa. The will to succeed and the commitment to the environment connect the sportsman and the brand. Consequently, Messner has been particularly enthusiastic about Opel's low-emission and zero-emission models for years. This began with the electric pioneer Opel Ampera and now leads him to the latest electric models from the brand with the Blitz.