The Opel-Vauxhall Ampera tied for the first position in the top ten green cars for 2010, with the Nissan LEAF.
Scheduled for release in November 2010 in America, it can travel for up to 40 miles on the electricity stored in its lithium-ion batteries. It then has an internal combustion engine which takes over giving it a range of over 300 miles. It should be available in 2011/12 in Europe.
Driving the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera
The Ampera has an innovative driveline and uses a combination of electricity and combustion energy. It has a 40 miles battery range which will cover the daily driving requirements of 90% of European drivers.
It has a fast enough acceleration and it easy to manoeuvre. However although acceleration is good up to 50mph at higher speeds it is poor. Bear in mind that this review is based on a prototype and improvements can be made in the meantime.
The Opel/Vauxhall Ampera as a Fleet Car
With electric power being the technology of the future it does offer the advantage of a real-world range and performance. At this relatively early stage the Ampera is still flawed in places and expensive, but as improvements are made moving on from this prototype this will help.
Overall savings will be similar to the Nissan LEAF with running costs being about a fifth of a petrol or diesel equivalent. This means that within about three years you will get back the difference in what you paid for the car and then you will be making huge savings.
If projected figures are right, the Ampera will be one of the greenest cars on UK roads, when it is launched in 2012.
The Government should be offering £5,000 tax incentives and consider making the Ampera exempt from road tax and any congestion charges.
Passengers and Luggage
Although generally quite classy and comfortable, the Ampera falls down a little on luggage space. It will accommodate four adults but with a smaller amount of baggage.
Opel/Vauxhall Ampera at a Glance
– It is estimated to cost £30,000
– It should be on sale in the UK: February 2012
– Engine: Electric motor with range-extending 1.4-litre petrol four-cylinder, 273lb ft
– Transmission: Single-speed transmission, front-wheel drive Performance: 100mph, 9.0sec 0-62mph, 175mpg,
– The secret to the Ampera’s possible success is the delicate balance between 16kWh battery capacity, 111kW (150bhp) electric motor and the petrol engine.
– Initially the Amperas will be built in the States, but General Motors is hoping to gain UK funding to build the cars at its Ellesmere Port factory.
Jackie writes for the blog of the best UK motor fleet insurance company, Cover 4 Fleet Insurance. They offer cost effective and custom fleet insurance packages. The blog has useful information and news for fleet managers and the main site is where you can get a competitive quote for motor fleet insurance. http://blog-fleetuk.cover4fleetinsurance.co.uk/