GM delays the deliveries of Opel/Vauxhall Ampera on battery worries

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 13, 2011

Deliveries of the Ampera plug-in hybrid to Europe have been delayed, according to General Motors Co.'s Opel/Vauxhall unit. The U.S. authorities’ investigations over the battery fires are ongoing. A total of three battery fires on the Chevrolet Volt took place weeks after the crash tests conducted by the government.

An Opel spokesman told Automotive News Europe that no cars will be delivered to customers while the process to deal with the issue is being set up “to make sure they are safe.”

The Ampera has already started deliveries to dealers in Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium and Holland. Last June, Opel said that the Ampera would be entering the European market by the end of 2011.

Meanwhile, a Vauxhall spokeswoman said that the Ampera remains on track for a previous plan to launch the vehicle in the UK in May. The Ampera is produced together with the Volt at GM's Hamtramck plant near Detroit.

The same technology is used by the two cars, including the lithium-ion batteries that power the electric motor. However, their body styling is different. GM said that 10,000 Amperas will be offered to markets in Europe next year.

The Volt started delivery for Europe last week with the arrival of the first two cars to the U.S. embassy in Paris. According to a Chevrolet spokesman, the European rollout of the Volt is unaffected by the crash-test fires. The spokesman said that the cars have already begun arriving at European dealerships. Volt sales in the U.S. started last year.

The new Opel Ampera is soon to be Europe’s first zero-emission everyday e-car. With its Voltec propulsion technology, the new 5-door Ampera is designed to deliver powerful acceleration and also run up to 500km of extended range. At last, there’s an e-car that’s fun to drive on long trips or even just around the city.

In fact, there’s a lot more to say about the Ampera’s amazing features. Opel’s electrically driven 4-seater comes with enough space to store your luggage at the trunk. Even the chief engineer, Frank Weber, thinks that the benefits of driving an e-car are not simply limited to environmental factors. With that, it can’t be denied that driving an e-car can also bring fun and excitement considering Ampera’s 370Nm silent torque output.

Overall, the new Opel Ampera is purely electric. Meaning, no matter which road situation or speed you’re in, you can be sure that the vehicle runs with its stored electricity. For instance, the 60km trip MVEG’s energy source comes from the 16kWh lithium battery’s power supply. So that means, you can expect zero CO2 emission while driving.

With Opel Ampera, you can rest your mind at ease. Unlike some battery-powered cars today, it won’t leave you worrying that you’ll get stranded in the middle of nowhere. Just because the battery is depleted doesn’t mean the trip is over. Why?

Because once the vehicle starts to run short of energy, the gasoline-fuelled engine will then generate the electricity. During this stage, the E85 engine powers up the electric drive unit while maintaining the battery charge all at the same time. This type of mode offers an extra 500km so until then; you have enough time to recharge the battery with any conventional 230V power outlet available.

GME’s VP for Engineering Hans Demant believes that the highly innovative lithium battery will bring the new Ampera closer to its consumers. And for that reason, their team in Mainz-Kastel Germany is working non-stop just to ensure that each battery is of high quality and is also reliable.

Topics: gm, opel, opel ampera

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