At its launch, the Vauxhall Ampera was the first ‘plug-in’ hybrid passenger car to be offered for sale in the UK. Powered by General Motors’ ground-breaking ‘Voltec’ series-hybrid propulsion technology (just like its Chevrolet Volt sister model), it represents the great white hope of one the world’s largest car-makers.
It is the family car re-engineered for a 21st century that demands giant leaps in fuel efficiency. Nothing short of revolutionary, in other words.
While every other hybrid on the road can be best described as combustion engined car backed up by electric assistance, the Vauxhall Ampera is their mirror image: a fully paid up electric family car, with a compact four-cylinder combustion engine included under its bonnet for backup.
The difference, in principal, is massive. Vauxhall claims better than 300mpg for the Ampera in urban use. It also claims a maximum cruising range, thanks to that petrol engine, of more than 300 miles.
And so to the billion dollar question: is this the world’s first truly usable electric car?