What is it?
This is Opel's, and in a couple of years' time, Vauxhall's, new electric family car. In mainland Europe, beginning with electric-friendly Norway and followed next by Belgium, Holland and Germany, it replaces the original Ampera, of which so much was expected but which sold in small numbers.
That 2011 Ampera was a range-extender with a separate petrol engine to power a generator, making the Ampera a viable daily driver with no 'range anxiety'. This new one is fully electric, but Opel's engineers claim a class-leading range of 323 miles on the existing official tests and 236 miles on the more realistic WLTP (Worldwide harmonised Light-duty vehicles Test Procedure) tests.
If reached in the real world, these figures make the Ampera-e the most practical sensible-money electric car yet. The key to this usability is a particularly high-capacity battery pack designed and built by LG. Its 288 cells deliver 60kWh, and the 430kg assembly sits under the Ampera-e's floor with a kicked-up section under the rear seat.
There's no centre tunnel, the seating position is MPV-high with lots of rear leg room (in fact, more in this Vauxhall Corsa-footprint car than in the bigger Vauxhall Astra), and there's a decent 381-litre boot extendable into a 1274-litre cargo bay by folding the rear seats' backrests down. The bonnet, doors and tailgate are made of aluminium, the whole car weighs 1691kg, and with 201bhp and 266lb ft of torque on offer from its engine, the latter from zero rpm, it promises to be a lively machine.
The Ampera-e is built by GM in Orion, Michigan in the US, alongside its very similar Chevrolet Bolt sibling. They share a unique, electric-specific platform and running gear. A facelifted version of the original Chevrolet Volt, the car that morphed into Europe's first Ampera, continues in US production.