I have had a decent amount of experience with electrically driven cars, spending 12 months in a Nissan Leaf and 12 months in a Chevrolet Volt.

Aside from the zero exhaust pipe pollution, which (as I’m sure you’re feed up of me saying, can be achieved with much cheaper gas-powered cars) my feeling was that the great advantage of being powered by electric motor was smoothness, refinement and in-gear performance.

With the benefits of exceptional drivetrain refinement, to me, logic would have suggested that the Volt (with its ability to run on petrol power for longer journeys) would have been better conceived a larger, luxury car, both playing to its inherent strengths and justifying the inevitably higher price of a car with a big battery pack.

Some time ago I suggested on Autocar’s pages that a luxury car, based on stretched Volt platform, with a higher quality interior, would play to the strengths of the range-extender drivetrain and the £35,000 price tag.

Vauxhall/Opel, to their great credit, have jumped into this conceptual slot with Monza. Even better, the Volt’s heavy and expensive battery packs have been replaced with gas tanks. The CO2 released per kilometer by gas power can be with a few percentage points of the same for electric cars charged from the European mains network.