Vauxhall says the £3,000 price cut for the Ampera has to be seen in the context of the whole electric vehicle market, which is only running at 30 per cent of the expected level.
The company maintains that the whole market is disappointing, rather than representing a specific problem with the Ampera, which is now available from £28,750.
However, even in relative terms, Vauxhall Ampera sales have been disappointing. It is outsold by the Nissan Leaf by more than five to one in the UK. Nissan's EV sold 530 units in the first half of 2013. By comparison, less than 100 private buyers purchased a Chevrolet Volt, Vauxhall Ampera or Renault Fluence in the same period.
As one manufacturer put it at the Frankfurt motor show, “The public thinks emissions are a problem, but they think it is a problem for the industry, not for them. They see no reason why they should pay extra to reduce CO2”.
Model / starting price 2012 / starting price 2013 / Total first half sales 2013
Chevrolet Volt: £30,225 (2012), £27,255* (2013), Sales: 23
Nissan Leaf: £25,990 (2012), £20,990 (2013), Sales: 825
Renault Fluence**: £17,850 (2012), £17,845 (2013), Sales: 7
Vauxhall Ampera: £32,250 (2012), £28,750 (2013), Sales: 150
* price cut expected within weeks
** Batteries are leased separately at a cost of £2772 for first three years.