Vauxhall/Opel has offered a sneak peak at its new hybrid car to complement America’s Chevy Volt, the new Vauxhall Ampera. The sleek European, electric-petrol car will be displayed at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. Borrowing exterior design from the Flextreme concept car, the Ampera has a similar chassis, glass and interior as the Volt.
GM has decided to offer a similar engine for their European hybrid car, so the powertrain is still a turbo direct-injection petrol rather than a diesel. The main idea is that you hardly use the engine because the car can run a 40-mile drive on battery electric power. The car has enough juice to make 150bhp; and when the battery runs out, the engine kicks in to power up the battery so drivers won’t need a stopover for an inconvenient recharge.
GM’s proprietary electric motor technology, called Voltec is different from the rest of the hybrid wannabes. For short trips, the Ampera runs only via the lithium-ion battery charged by a standard 230v outlet. For longer distances, the GM car will still drive on using electricity generated by a small internal combustion engine.
For a car roughly the size of an Astra, the cost may run up to the high £30,000s because the car is manufactured in the U.S.—where GM has its battery factory. Expect the five-door, four seat Ampera to be available sometime in 2011.