Family of electric cars will grow to three models by 2015, says GM Europe chief

The forthcoming Vauxhall Ampera will be replaced by a family of three extended-range electric vehicles within five years — and all three of them could potentially be made at General Motors’ Ellesmere Port factory in the UK.

GM Europe president Nick Reilly confirmed that the first-generation Volt/Ampera will be built in Detroit until 2015, when the second-generation version — which GM is already developing — will come on stream.

“At that point it will make business sense to ramp up volumes of the Volt and Ampera, and to have several production sites for the ‘EREV’ model family,” Reilly told Autocar. “We will need one of those factories to be in Europe, and I’m very keen for it to be Ellesmere Port.”

See pics of the Vauxhall Ampera in action

Reilly revealed that the 2015 Ampera family will consist of an Astra-size hatchback, a slightly larger four-door to replace the Ampera itself, and a five-seat crossover. The latter car will be similar to the ChevroletVolt MPV5 concept from this year’s Beijing motor show.

The cars are likely to be sold under an Opel/Vauxhall Ampera sub-brand, but they’ll cost considerably less than the first-generation Volt/Ampera, and have better electric range. “We’re anticipating a 50 per cent improvement in the cost of the electrical components in the EREV powertrain in time for the second-generation cars,” Reilly said.

Read Autocar's first drive of the Vauxhall Ampera

While the Mk1 Ampera is likely to cost around £37,000 in the UK next year — or £32,000 with the government’s electric car incentive — the next-generation cars should come to market for “between £5000 and £8000 more than a like-for-like petrol-engined model,” according to Reilly.

If European government incentives for EVs survive until 2015, they could wipe out that cost penalty almost entirely — and for that reason, GM is anticipating much higher sales volumes for the cars, and the need for several worldwide production sites.

Matt Saunders

See all the latest Vauxhall Ampera reviews, news and video

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
7

7 December 2010

Hah! The range expander expands its range.

7 December 2010

[quote MHanna]Hah! The range expander expands its range[/quote]

Yes very good!

Although I can't understand why they couldn't get three different bodies from the start assuming they are all mechanically identical. That would at least give people a range to choose from. This is the reason my mother in law didn't buy a Prius - she hates hatchbacks because they are quote dangerous unquote. It has to do with them not having a boot as such...

7 December 2010

I can't see the "government incentives" lasting too that point, isn't there a fixed pot of money each year anyway.

7 December 2010

When a single mother from a council estate with five kids gets money from the government there's a certain fraternity who'll label her with some derogatory remark. Yet when someone who can afford £33000 for a motor car cries for government help...

The motoring press may wish to look at it as an incentive, I beg to differ

7 December 2010

Don't worry about the cost of the Ampera or Leaf, the Germans are not stupid enough to bring out similar cars.

7 December 2010

So they are basically saying "within just a few years we will replace the Ampera with a better cheaper car"... not exactly going to help sales of the mk1 Ampera is it!

currently a happy owner of a Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin :)

7 December 2010

As GM Europe have said that a few years down the line they will look to ramp up production and build some new models, lets hope sales are not down the toilet by then because its price early doors is too steep.

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