It’s now Opel Ampera’s turn to undergo Euro NCAP’s tests, the same ones that the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Nissan LEAF were subjected to. This new EV has a balance of structure, interior and restraint system that’s well-optimized, enabling it to get the maximum points in the side pole test. Using the new rating scheme, the Ampera scored 85% in adult occupant protection, 86% safety assist, 78% in child occupant protection, and 41% in pedestrian protection.
The standard equipment for the model includes Electronic Stability Control and a seatbelt reminder system for the driver, front passenger and rear seats.
These tests indicated that in a frontal impact, the passenger cell that may hold adult occupants stayed stable. Also fitted as standard equipment on this car are the driver and passenger airbags. The tests with the dummies showed that the knees and femurs of both front seat occupants are well protected.
But then, the tests also determined that the dashboard had structures that presented a possible hazard to occupants of various sizes and in different positions.
The highest points were also scored by the Ampera in the side barrier test as well as in the more difficult side pole impact. On the other hand, the tests indicated that the Ampera offered marginal protection to whiplash injuries in a rear-end collision. The model that was tested by the safety organization was a 1.4/electric LHD. What happened next was that the car was checked for electrical safety and no issues were found.
When launched, the new five-door Opel Ampera will be the first electric-driven vehicle in Europe that could be used for daily trips. It is powered by a Voltec electric propulsion system that makes it possible for the Ampera to operate in electric mode at all times and speeds. When the trip requires travelling up to 60 km (MVEG), an innovative 16-kWh lithium-ion battery provides the needed electricity to the electric drive unit for zero-emission propulsion.
Once the four-passenger Opel Ampera uses up all the energy stored in the battery, a gasoline/E85-fueled engine-generator will kick in to provide electricity for the drive unit while sustaining the charge of the lithium battery. This allows the Opel Ampera to travel up to 500 kilometers, when needed. Users could recharge the Ampera’s battery just by plugging its on-board charge system into a standard household 230v outlet.
This effectively gets rid of the so-called "range anxiety," which is usually an issue with a conventional battery-electric vehicle. This means that drivers would be extremely confident that they would not be stranded somewhere in between trips because of a depleted battery. Hans Demant, GME's vice president of engineering, considers the Ampera’s 16-kWh lithium-ion battery as key to making the vehicle appealing to consumers.
He noted that to ensure that the battery meets expectations of customers, GME’s r&d engineers at its Mainz-Kastel center in Germany are testing the power source around the clock and 365 days a year. GM will produce this 16-kWh lithium-ion battery at its lithium-ion production facility in the United States. Featuring over 220 lithium-ion cells, the Ampera’s T-shaped battery pack provides power to the electric drive unit, which in turn develops 150 hp of output and 370 Nm of torque at any time.
These figures allow the Opel Ampera to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in around nine seconds and achieve a top speed of 161 km/h. Global vehicle line executive and chief engineer, Frank Weber, remarked that driving electrically is not just about ecology, but also about having great fun.