Opel Ampera wins the Monte Carlo Rally for electric and alternative propulsion cars

Article by Christian A., on March 29, 2012

The Vauxhall/Opel Ampera is on a winning streak as it got an award at 13th International Monte Carlo Rally for electric and alternative propulsion cars after having been recently given the award for “Car of the Year 2012.” There were four Amperas named in this list of top 10 vehicles. The French duo Bernard Darniche and Joseph Lambert were able to beat the whole competitive field.

Last Sunday during the last day of this race, this electric vehicle got to the finish line in the capital of the Côte d’Azur principality. There were about 130 participants from about 30 manufacturers, including seven Amperas and one private Ampera team. The rest of the contenders included a Renault Fluence Z.E., a Tesla Roadster sports car, a Mitsubishi I-MiEV and a Peugeot Ion.

Aside from being the overall winner, the Ampera teams also did well. Coming in at No. 3 are Charlotte Berton and Olivier Sussot. Seventh place went to Jean-Claude Andruet and Patrick Lienne while Hanns Werner Wirth and Daniel Riesen finished 8th.

Vauxhall/Opel’s Director E-mobility, Enno Fuchs, said that the fact that the Ampera has triumphed in this versatility contest under difficult conditions demonstrates its excellent balance between durability and fuel efficiency.

He added that this emphasizes its leadership role in the field of alternative propulsion. The rally began in the three towns of Annecy-le-Vieux, Clermont Ferrand and Lugano for 550 kilometres through Digne-les-Bains, the capital of the French district (département) Alpes-de-Haute-Provence to Monaco.

The teams had to drive of 272 kilometres on the second day, making them go past Monaco and the original route of the Monte Carlo Rally through the French Maritime Alps. Regularity tests were conducted on the teams who had to show off their driving skills by pushing their cars to the limit.

Opel’s revolutionary Ampera is going to be the first electrically driven, emission-free vehicle in Europe that is suitable for everyday driving. The five-door Ampera’s Voltec electric propulsion system provides lively acceleration as well as high levels of refinement. Moreover, it can comfortably seat four passengers. It offers a spacious trunk that can accommodate luggage, and features more than 500 kilometers of extended range.

The Opel Ampera’s wheels are driven by electricity at all times and at all speeds. For road trips that cover up to 60 kilometers (MVEG), the car is powered by electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery.

What’s more, the Ampera emits absolutely zero carbon dioxide while it is driving on electricity delivered by this cutting-edge battery. And when the battery runs out of energy, the car’s gasoline/E85-fueled engine-generator flawlessly provides the electricity that powers the car’s electric drive unit while also sustaining the battery’s charge. This engine-generator mode extends your car’s range to 500 kilometers, until you can charge the battery by plugging the on-board charge system of the car into a household 230-volt outlet.

Furthermore, unlike conventional battery-electric vehicles, the Ampera is without "range anxiety," giving you the peace of mind and the confidence that you won’t be stranded wherever you are because of a depleted battery.

GM will manufacture the Ampera's battery pack at the first ever lithium-ion production facility that’s operated by a major automotive company in the United States. The T-shaped pack contains more than 200 lithium-ion cells that provide ample power. Its electric drive unit, which is nearly silent, generates 370-Nm instant torque, the equivalent of 150 hp, acceleration of 100 km/h in around 9 seconds, and 161 km/h top speed.

Press Release

Opel Ampera Wins Monte Carlo Rally

After winning the “Car of the Year 2012” award, the Opel Ampera has now also won the 13. International Monte Carlo Rally for electric cars and alternative propulsion in which it competed for the first time. Four Ampera ranked among the top 10 vehicles. The French duo Bernard Darniche and Joseph Lambert managed to beat the entire competitive field. On Sunday, the final day of the contest, the revolutionary electric vehicle reached the finish line in the capital of the Côte d’Azur principality. Some 130 competitors from about 30 manufacturers took part, among them seven Ampera, including one private Ampera team. The other contenders included a Renault Fluence Z.E., a Tesla Roadster sports car, a Mitsubishi I-MiEV and a Peugeot Ion. Apart from the overall victory, the Ampera teams with Charlotte Berton and Olivier Sussot ranked third, Jean-Claude Andruet and Patrick Lienne came in 7th and Hanns Werner Wirth and Daniel Riesen finished 8th, completing the fantastic result.

“The Ampera’s success in this versatility contest under very challenging conditions proves its impressive balance between durability and fuel efficiency. This underscores our leadership role in the field of alternative propulsion,” says Opel’s Director E-mobility, Enno Fuchs. The “Rallye Monte-Carlo Des Énergies Nouvelles” took place for the 13th time and has established itself as the oldest motorsport event for vehicles with alternative propulsion. The Monte Carlo Automobile Club has organized the competition since 1995.
Endurance test for alternative propulsion

The rally started in the three towns of Annecy-le-Vieux, Clermont Ferrand and Lugano for 550 kilometers via Digne-les-Bains, the capital of the French district (département) Alpes-de-Haute-Provence to Monaco. On the second day, the teams had to complete a distance of 272 kilometers, leading them through Monaco and the original route of the Monte Carlo Rally through the French Maritime Alps. In these two days the teams were subjected to regularity tests and had to prove their driving skills by pushing their vehicles to the limit.

Apart from the regularity tests, the focus lay with fuel consumption. With the help of a ratio derived from vehicle weight, CO2 emissions, the energy density of the fuel and its consumption, the organizers were able to calculate a comparison value and draw up an overall ranking. “The sophisticated technology of the Ampera was always reliable and enabled our tremendous success,” says the French rally co-pilot, Joseph Lambert who celebrated the victory with driver Bernhard Darniche. Darniche already won the legendary Monte Carlo Rally in 1979 and has more than 10 times been successful in winning the special stage over the famous Col de Turini.

The Opel Ampera is the first electric vehicle that can go anywhere anytime. A 16 kWh lithium ion battery powers the 111kW/150 hp electric motor. Depending on the style of driving and road conditions, distance of between 40 and 80 kilometers can be covered in the purely battery-operated mode, completely free of emissions. The wheels of the Ampera are always powered electrically. In extended-range mode, which activates whenever the battery has reached its minimum state of charge, the gasoline engine drives a generator that supplies the electric drive unit. The range extender enables an operating radius of 500 kilometers. On the road, the Ampera’s electric propulsion system provides instant torque of 370 Nm enabling zero to 100 km/h acceleration in around nine seconds and a top speed of 161 km/h.

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