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.
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.