Plus: see Steve Cropley's development drive on video
3 September 2009

The Vauxhall-Opel Ampera is about to begin production trials in Europe.

The car, which is driven by a 147bhp electric motor but has a 75bhp, 1.4-litre petrol engine on board to generate power after it has used its first 35 miles of battery range, is the Astra-sized five-door saloon on which General Motors is basing most of its current green technologies.

View Steve Cropley's Vauxhall Ampera video blog here

See the Vauxhall Ampera test mule picture gallery.

Steve Cropley blog: Vauxhall Ampera - like a car, only better

The Ampera, which is due to be made in both left and right-hand drive versions at GM’s Hamtramck plant, near Detroit, towards the end of 2011, is running about a year behind the Chevrolet Volt, which hits the US market at the end of next year.

GM Europe is still deciding whether to make the car in Europe, for a number of reasons. Continuing uncertainty over the company’s ownership is one; the difficulty of forecasting European demand is another.

But GM insiders also cite political considerations; the car could easily be made anywhere the Astra is currently in production – including at the UK’s Ellesmere Port – but company bosses are likely to press green-conscious European governments for as much ‘assistance’ as possible before they make a decision. Vauxhall-badged Amperas will hit UK showrooms around four months behind the first left-hand drive Opels, in the first quarter of 2012.

GM offers no comment on price, except to say that there will be a premium added to similar-sized petrol and diesel saloon car, which will reflect fuel savings over the car’s lifetime but won’t be large enough to deter buyers.

The Ampera’s heart, its 180kg T-shaped lithium ion battery, is intended to last the life of the car - at least 10 years or 150,000 miles - and should not need the separate lease deals and plug-in/plug-out systems that other electric car manufacturers are planning.

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Comments
3

3 September 2009

An electric Vauxhall mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Id rather eat my own shoite

3 September 2009

If they were going to deviate from the Volt, would surely have made more sense to go with a hatchback body?

3 September 2009

[quote March1]If they were going to deviate from the Volt, would surely have made more sense to go with a hatchback body?[/quote]

GM appear to still see mainland Europe as being the key to this cars success outside the states. Europe still sees the saloon body as being more desirable than the humble hatch back which we favour in the UK.

As for the Ampera itself, it looks like it is going to end up as an auction by various European countries as to who will get the production. Sadly, I fear for the UK's chances.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

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