Decoded, that probably means GM will launch a much cheaper, battery-only electric car, possibly related to a new generation of the Chevrolet Spark electric supermini.
Unlike the Ampera, however, which was a serious attempt at an electric car that could be relied on as an only car, the next GME electric car is likely to be much closer to the Renault Zoe. In other words, a second, urban car to use for shorter journeys.
As much as you can argue that the Ampera was clever and desirable (it was the 2012 European Car of the Year, after all), there is no arguing with the sales figures.
In 2012, its first full year on sale, 5300 examples found homes across Europe. Last year, however, that dropped below 3200 units, while this year’s sales are on schedule to fall well short of the 1000 mark.
The early adopters have adopted, the business buyers have bought in and demand has slowed to a sub-100-unit-per-month crawl.
It’s difficult to know why the Ampera died so quickly in Europe, although the price was clearly a big component. In the UK, the car currently costs from £27,600.
With the government’s £5000 plug-in car grant (effectively, it means the Treasury is not charging VAT), the price drops to £22,600 in base form.
That’s the same as a new Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI SE with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
However, Vauxhall could argue that driving an Ampera in town in electric mode was a truly green way to travel, because the car was emitting nothing in the way of tailpipe pollutants.
Sadly, though, the green movement and EU governments decided to frame the hopelessly over-simplified environmental argument almost entirely in terms of CO2.
This was in stark contrast to the US market, where there has been public understanding of all types of tailpipe pollution for decades. (Which is why the compressed natural gas-powered Honda Civic is usually voted ‘green’ car of the year in the US.)
With the CO2 argument in mind, the typical European Ampera driver probably realised that when the car’s battery charge ran out, they were then propelled by a relatively low-tech petrol engine. This may return 45mpg on the motorway, but that was adrift of what a good modern turbodiesel could manage.
And then there is the space-age styling. Because of the sizeable battery pack running down the centre of the car, the Ampera is a strict four-seater. The tail is high and bluff and the rear corners are squared off, as is required for low-drag aerodynamic performance.
The small side windows (undersized to reduce ‘solar gain’ and keep the cabin cooler in bright sunshine) are disguised by a rather heavy-handed black surround, while the dashboard appears to be an attempt at defining the future.
But many dislike the one-piece moulded centre console and touch-sensitive switchgear, which give no haptic feedback and often result in frustrated jabbing.
The Ampera’s inability to find a fan base is also reflected in the residual values. While not terrible, it’s possible to buy a low-mileage, two-year-old example of the Volt or Ampera for as little as £16,000.