Opel Ampera officially unveiled

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 3, 2009

Interested buyers for the MY2011 Opel Ampera electric vehicle could now make reservations to be among the first to own this model. Regarded as the first EV in Europe capable of travelling longer even after its battery ran out of juice, the Ampera offers the right solution for those who usually travel less than 60 kilometers daily but sometimes need to go farther.

Yes, the Ampera – which could operate in a variety of climates at all times and speeds – will be entirely powered solely by electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery for the first 40 to 80 kilometers. During that period, the Ampera is purely an eco-friendly vehicle emitting nothing, with the owner enjoying pollution-free driving.

The good news is that according to an independent research, around 80 percent of Europeans drive less than 60 kilometers daily. This means that the Ampera would be able to cater to their daily travel needs without causing harm to the environment. Once the battery runs out of juice, it is very easy to re-charge.

A customer just has to plug the Ampera’s on-board charge system into a standard outlet (230v) and wait for around three hours. This fast re-charging time means that an Ampera driver would not have to worry about running out of battery power while in the midst of a travel.

But should the Ampera’s battery power reaches zero, drivers still do not have to worry as Opel has devised a great way to extend the vehicle’s range – by installing a gasoline-powered engine/generator.

Good news is that the Ampera does not have to stop when the power source shifts to the engine. When the battery runs out of power, the engine/generator will smoothly and seamlessly kick in and allow the Ampera to travel over 500 kilometers more.

Thus, whether for a short trip or a long cruise, the Opel Ampera offers to cater drivers’ range needs. As for its looks, the new Ampera inherits the genes of the carmaker’s new design language, evident in its bold Opel badge, prominent grille, and audacious boomerang headlamps.

Thanks to its well-designed and well-studied form, the Ampera boasts of being one of the most aerodynamic and energy-efficient vehicles currently available. Inside its cabin, meanwhile, is an array of premium content like Bose speakers and touch-screen monitors.

Now that the five-door, four-seat Ampera is now ready to be reserved, interested buyers are expected to flock into Opel’s showrooms. Its base model carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (Europe-wide) that starts at EUR42,900, including national VAT.

Its net price in Germany is EUR36,050, as the country only charges 19 percent VAT. Likewise, since trim levels for the new Ampera will differ according to where it is being sold, the prices should be expected to differ too.

For the understanding of those who may complain that the Ampera could be more expensive than other EVs, Opel structures its pricing not like its rivals. Prices of other EVs may seem less expensive because rival carmakers only highlight the base for the car and excludes the leasing rate for the battery pack.

But since battery leases are paid every month for years, the total price of those EVs would be more or less the same as those whose overall tag includes both the car’s and the battery’s. Since Opel’s pricing scheme includes both the cost of the Ampera and its battery, the total price of the EV is easier to understand.

To reserve, interested buyers just need to register at www.opel-ampera.com and become an ‘ePioneer,’ a privilege that allows them to receive exclusive news and to get a chance to test drive the Ampera. Opel will start sales of Ampera in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Press Release

Geneva World Premiere: Opel Ampera to Debut in 2011

The revolutionary Opel Ampera celebrated its world premiere at the 79th Geneva Motor Show. General Motors Europe president, Carl-Peter Forster, unveiled the extended-range electric vehicle and announced plans to put the car into production in late 2011.

The Opel Ampera will also be offered with right-hand drive in the United Kingdom by Opel's sister-brand, Vauxhall.

"The Opel Ampera further demonstrates GM's leadership in the electrification of the automobile," said Carl-Peter Forster. "Its ground-breaking Voltec electric propulsion system is the kind of game-changing technology the automotive industry needs to respond to energy and environmental challenges."

The five-door, four-seat Opel Ampera is influenced by Opel's award-winning design language of sculptural artistry meets German precision, incorporating several styling cues from the innovative Flextreme and GTC Concept show cars

"There could not be a more fitting way to celebrate Opel's 110 years of innovation in the car industry than by revealing the Opel Ampera," said Alain Visser, GME Vice President Opel.

The Opel Ampera's wheels are turned electrically at all times and speeds. For journeys up to 60 km (MVEG), it runs on electricity stored in the 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery, and emits zero CO2. When the battery's energy is depleted, electricity from an engine-generator extends the Ampera's range to more than 500 km.

The Opel Ampera can be plugged into any household 230v outlet for charging. GM Europe is analyzing the requirements of a recharging infrastructure for plug-in electric cars with energy companies, including Iberdrola of Spain.

Opel Ampera Gets Power and Refinement from Voltec Propulsion System

The revolutionary Opel Ampera will be the first emission-free, electrically driven automobile in Europe suitable for everyday driving. With its Voltec electric propulsion system providing lively acceleration and high levels of refinement, the five-door Opel Ampera seats four passengers in comfort, offers a useful trunk for their luggage, and features an extended range of more than 500 kilometers.

"Driving electrically is not only about ecology," said global vehicle line executive and chief engineer, Frank Weber. "Driving electrically is also great fun. Instantaneous, silent torque of 370 Newton meters under your right foot feels like flying!"

Electricity drives the Opel Ampera's wheels at all times and speeds. For trips up to 60 km (MVEG), power is supplied by the electricity stored in the cutting-edge, 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery.

While driving on electricity delivered by the battery, the Opel Ampera emits zero CO2. When the battery's energy is depleted, a gasoline/E85-fueled engine-generator seamlessly provides electricity to power the electric drive unit while simultaneously sustaining the charge of the battery. This mode of operation extends the range to 500 kilometers, until the battery can be charged by plugging the vehicle's on-board charge system into a standard household 230v outlet.

Opel Ampera gives driver confidence and peace of mind

Unlike a conventional battery-electric vehicle, the Opel Ampera eliminates "range anxiety," giving the confidence and peace of mind that the driver will not be stranded by a depleted battery.

"An advanced lithium-ion battery system is the key to getting the Opel Ampera into the hands of consumers", said Hans Demant, GME's vice president of engineering. "The engineers at our research and development center in Mainz-Kastel, Germany are testing the battery around the clock, 365 days a year to ensure that it meets the expectations of our customers."

The Opel Ampera's battery pack will be manufactured by GM at the first lithium-ion production facility to be operated by a major automaker in the United States. More than 220 lithium-ion cells in the T-shaped pack provide ample power. The nearly silent electric drive unit delivers 370 Nm of instant torque, the equivalent of 150 horsepower, zero to 100 km/h acceleration in around nine seconds, and a top speed of 161 km/h.

The Opel Ampera will be well-suited to the daily driving schedule of most European customers. For example, approximately 80 percent of German drivers travel less than 50 km daily.

Opel estimates that an electrically driven kilometer in the Opel Ampera will cost about one-fifth compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle, at current fuel prices.

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