Finally Europe will receive the world class American designed PHEV worthy of a market that regularly pays $7 to $10 for a gallon of “petrol” as they call it on the other side of the pond
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Feb. 19, 2011
2011/2012 Opel Ampera - The production version will make its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show on March 3rd.
While the Chevrolet Volt has caught the imagination of the American public (although not their pocketbooks as of yet), Chevrolet is premiering its “wunderkind” to the EU in the form of the Opel Ampera. Scheduled to enter the market in the second half of 2011, then Ampera’s underpinnings (read Volt) is designed as an EV first and as a gasoline powered hybrid to move you across the Continent in one fell swoop (with a number of very expensive refueling of course
) if you choose to do so.
According to Opel, approximately 1,000 people across Europe have reserved an Ampera with half of those being corporate customers.
Could some of those hand raisers be BMW, MB, Peugeot and Nissan/Renault in order to do some reverse engineering to figure out how far behind the patent curve they may actually be
The Ampera was already awarded the “Auto Trophy 2010” in the electric vehicle category by readers of the European specific Auto Zeitung. The Ampera was named runner up for the “Green Steering Wheel 2010”, a special category of the “Golden Steering Wheel”, by readers and the jury of Europe’s Bild and Bild am Sonntag. Auto Test magazine awarded it the “e-car award 2010” in the category “Innovation/Technical Concept of the Year”. The Ampera’s user-friendliness had already won the “Green Technology Award” from the British magazine What Car? and the “Innovation Trophy” from L’Automobile Magazine in France in 2009.
And here it comes… The $41,000 USD Volt costs $58,705 USD as an Ampera (RRP incl. VAT) across the EU Common market.
Get in and Drive
The Opel Ampera’s 16 kWh battery can recharged from an indicated 0% SoC in approximately four hours on a standard European 230V circuit. Are European’s already setup for BEV and PHEV propulsion or what
Because the battery can be recharged without the need for special charging equipment, most Ampera’s are likely to be driven in battery mode for much of the life. And with gasoline costing as much as $10/gallon or more, it had better be driven mostly off the plug or else
Studies have revealed that approximately 80 percent of Europeans drive less than 37 miles/day while Ampera allows its owners 25 - 50 miles of AER from a full charge. If a longer trip is required, the gasoline-fueled engine can extend the total driving range to more than 310 miles on a full tank.
Performance wise, the 150 HP electric motor delivers 273 lb-ft. of torque from 0 RPM allowing a 0 to 60 mph in under 9 seconds. Maximum speed? Do not be stupid as gasoline is too precious a commodity to be wasted for that purpose
Four Drive Modes
is the default setting and is expected to be used most of the time to provide maximum efficiency. When the energy level of the battery drops below its Charge Depletion mode of operation, the Ampera enters Charge Sustaining mode offering about 1/2 to 2/3 of what a similar sized B or C-Segment Diesel would provide.
reconfigures the accelerator pedal to provide a quicker throttle response.
mode adjusts the system to provide necessary power in mountainous environments, when the performance of some vehicles could be less than their stated specs show. Mountain mode enables the engine to run before the battery reaches its minimum SoC and the car transitions to charge sustaining mode. Drivers can and should select this mode after a full charge or 10 to 15 minutes before entering mountainous terrain to enable full vehicle capability up sustained grades.
mode is a bit of a misnomer as it engages the engine immediately, saving the energy currently stored in the battery for later use. When City mode is switched off, the engine stops and the Ampera is then able to use the energy saved in the battery for EV driving in city environs or what Europe calls their restricted zones.
All in, it’s a Volt, it’s a bit more expensive due to the EU taxing structure and GM profit motive and it is one of the best PHEVs available other than the exorbitant price reducing its expected uptake to just a trickle
And to think at one point, GM was going to use a Super Diesel in the Ampera but followed the American design thinking that when the engine runs and the PHEV receives 1/ 2 to 2/3 of what a diesel receives would be “good enough
”. While driving on the pack, the Ampera is fantastic! While driving on the 1.4L gasoline engine, especially in Europe with fuel costing 2 to 3X’s what we pay here in the US, that has got to hurt.