Vauxhall version of the Chevrolet volt set to be unveiled at the Geneva show
27 January 2009

GM has given us a glimpse of Vauxhall's version of the Chevrolet Volt, the Vauxhall Ampera, due on sale in 2011.

The Ampera will get a public airing as a concept at the Geneva motor show in March. Like the Chevrolet Volt, the Vauxhall Ampera is based on the same Delta platform that will underpin the next Astra and uses so-called Voltec technology.

GM engineering director Hans Demant told Autocar that the Ampera shares many components with the Volt, but it will be tailored to suit European tastes. “It has to be close to the Volt in order to launch it six months later” he said, “especially if you want to have right-hand drive Vauxhall versions arriving shortly afterwards.”

Read Ed Keohane's blog on electric car names

Insiders who have seen the car claim that it shares the same silhouette as the Volt, but the first image clearly also shows a car with a similar front end to the Opel GTC concept. Demant also admitted that the interior was recognisable as the Volt's, but with some unique parts.

The Ampera combines an electric motor and a petrol engine, but the front wheels are always powered electrically; the petrol engine only serves to power a generator to create electricity. Using a battery only, the Vauxhall Ampera has a 40-mile range, which extends to 300 miles if you start burning petrol.

The Ampera may eventually be built in the UK at Ellesmere Port, alongside the new Astra, But GM sources admitted that the first cars will be built in the same US plant as the Volt.

Chas Hallett

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Ampera

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

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