Cavalcade of Vauxhalls aims to highlight suitability of Britain for Ampera production

The first complete Vauxhall Ampera prototype completed a 170-mile drive between Vauxhall's plants at Luton, Bedfordshire, and Ellesmere Port, south of Liverpool today.

The drive was aimed at underlining the suitability of Vauxhall's forthcoming Ampera electric saloon for UK production. The ground-breaking car was accompanied by a cavalcade of other Vauxhalls.

See pictures of the Vauxhall Ampera in the UK

Managing director Duncan Aldred drove the first leg, and described the car, due on sale at the beginning of 2012, as “extremely promising”. The Ampera, which uses a new Astra platform and is based closely on the US-made Chevy Volt extended range electric vehicle, has a battery range of around 40 miles. It also has a 1.4 litre petrol engine, driving a generator, which produces power for the battery once the car has exceeded its battery-only range. Aldred believes if the UK government maintains its promise of incentives of up to £5000 for early buyers of electric cars, there is “a very good chance” that the Ampera will be built at Ellesmere Port, because the UK will become the lead European market for electric cars.

Ellesmere currently tops the list of GM’s European plants on quality and productivity. However, the company intends to sell US-made Amperas at first, to establish the size of a demand its marketing experts are reluctant to estimate.

Steve Cropley

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Our Verdict

Vauxhall Ampera
The handsome Ampera is primarily propelled by electric motors; a 1.4-litre petrol engine is used to charge the car's batteries

The Vauxhall Ampera promises the ability to cover 175 miles on a gallon of petrol. Does it deliver?

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Comments
6

22 June 2010

[quote Autocar]The first complete Vauxhall Ampera prototype completed a 170-mile drive between Vauxhall's plants at Luton, Bedfordshire, and Ellesmere Port, south of Liverpool today.[/quote]

... also known as Ellesmere Port, Cheshire - The BBC like to locate Cheshire towns & cities in Merseyside too

22 June 2010

Does the claimed 350 mile range still apply & is this down to a smaller fuel tank or poor mpg when the generator is running?

22 June 2010

[quote pa1nkiller]Does the claimed 350 mile range still apply & is this down to a smaller fuel tank or poor mpg when the generator is running?[/quote] They are highlighting that it is only half the range of the vehicle. It will still apparently have a 350 mile range (at the end of which you can just fill up with fuel and keep going).

22 June 2010

[quote theonlydt]They are highlighting that it is only half the range of the vehicle. It will still apparently have a 350 mile range (at the end of which you can just fill up with fuel and keep going).[/quote]

I didn't write the original question clearly enough. If you compare the 350 mile range of the Ampera to a car that does 35mpg with a 60l fuel capacity that has a range of approximately 471 miles, does this indicate that the Ampera has a smaller fuel tank than an average car?

I like the idea of having an electric only mode for short distances (I'd probably never have to buy more than 1 tank of petrol per year if I could afford the Ampera) and the peace of mind that your not going to run out of electricity miles from anywhere, but don't understand why the generator range is relatively short.

22 June 2010

Ah - thank you. That definitely makes sense as a question now! If my memory serves me right (and it's not doing well today) they were originally aiming for a 45 litre tank giving something like 600 miles. It sounds like now if you're looking at 350 miles (with about 50 being electric) then we'd be down to half that, at maybe 25ish. However, they could also have been overstating the fuel economy in charging mode and some "unnamed" sources were now predicting around a 30 litre tank. Remember the above is based on my scant recollection of speculation... I'd assume the smaller fuel tank is to do with packaging - fitting in the batteries below the vehicle where the fuel tank normally goes is going to make packaging interesting - doubt they can use the Jazz trick of putting it under the front seats due to the shape and size of the car.

22 June 2010

[quote pa1nkiller]

[quote Autocar]The first complete Vauxhall Ampera prototype completed a 170-mile drive between Vauxhall's plants at Luton, Bedfordshire, and Ellesmere Port, south of Liverpool today.[/quote]

... also known as Ellesmere Port, Cheshire - The BBC like to locate Cheshire towns & cities in Merseyside too

[/quote]This annoys me also, Ellesmere Port is located very close to The Wirral (just off the (M56/M53 Junction) but unlike the Wirral it comes under Cheshire County Council rather than Liverpool Council although both The Wirral and Cheshire share 'CH' postcodes! Having spent sometime round the Ellesmere Port Vauxhall plant I can well believe it is the best run and most productive Vauxhall plant in Europe so I hope they do get this car to build in the future, It's amazing they are all ways threatened with closure given the news in this report!

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