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Opel Ampera Concept: European Plug-In Electric Car

Motoring Channel Staff - 28/January/2009

Opel Ampera
Opel Ampera

Opel Insignia wins 2009 European Car of the Year
Opel Insignia wins 2009 European Car of the Year

Opel Insignia wins European Car of the Year
GM Europe's president Carl-Peter Forster lofts
the Euro COTY trophy like he won a running race

Rüsselsheim, Germany – Chevrolet prefers Volts, but it seems Opel prefers Amps.

General Motor's highly lauded German branch, Opel - fresh off winning European Car of the Year for the Insignia - will unveil the Ampera Concept in March.

The new Ampera Concept car will be one of Opel's star attractions at the upcoming Geneva Auto Salon in early March, showing off an interesting new design that differs slightly from the American-destined Chevrolet Volt.

Using the same internals as the Chevrolet Volt, which is one of the most-talked about electric cars and is due on sale in 2011 in America and 2012 in Australia (badged as a Holden), the Opel Ampera Concept is an early look at what could be Europe's first plug-in electric vehicle (EV).

Alain Visser, GM Europe's chief marketing officer confirmed that the vehicle would be built, but didn't give a timeline.

"With the Ampera, Opel will be the first European automobile manufacturer to provide customers several hundred kilometers of non-stop electric driving," said Visser. 

Based on the same EV technology and platform that powers the Chevrolet Volt (called Voltec) and which is also expected to power several other plug-in EVs like the Cadillac Converj, the Opel Ampera can travel 60 kilometers (40 miles) on battery power before it needs to use a small petrol engine to regenerate its massivelithium-ion batteries.

At no time does the small petrol engine power the wheels - it only recharges the batteries which energise a high torque electric motor.

New electric vehicle infrastructure, such as rapid battery recharge stations, will also enable the cars to run further on electricity. 

The Opel Ampera is a 5-door, 4-seat vehicle and using GM's Voltec platform, which can recharge its monstrous lithium-ion battery packs power by plugging into a standard electricity socket, such as in the garage.

The Opel Ampera's main difference to the Chevrolet Volt is it's appearance, showing off a small 5-door hatchback body style that would have been decided upon to suit European markets.

From the small teaser sketch it released, it appears Opel has crafted a good looking car. The only thing Opel  needs to do now is to change the awful name...

In other Opel news, the General Motor's-owned company took out the European "Car of the Year 2009" award.

Opel's Insignia mid-sized luxury car took out the award, which was accepted by GM Europe's president Carl-Peter Forster.

The Insignia took out the top spot, gaining a total of 321 points, edging out the second place getter, the Ford Fiesta, by just one point.

Third place was awarded to the Volkswagen Golf VI with 223 points.

Related Links:
- Australian Electric Car Network (2012)
- Chevrolet Volt (2011)
- Lexus HS 250h (2010)
- Electric Cars: Detroit Goes Green (2009)
- Toyota Prius Hybrid (2009)

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