Opel wants to become a leader in electric cars

Published by Andrew Christian @andrew4wheels Google+ | Monday October 24, 2011

Opel wants to become a leader in electric cars

Opel/Vauxhall’s sales and marketing chief Alain Visser said that the GM unit aims to lead the electric car segment. In an Automotive News Europe interview, Visser said that Opel hopes to be the “market leader in electric mobility.” The first electric car from Opel – the Ampera plug-in hybrid car – will arrive in the market next month.

A sibling to the Chevrolet Volt, the Ampera is equipped with a small gasoline engine that serves to extend the electric motor’s range. Visser claims that the Ampera will enhance Opel's image and provide the brand with a three-year head start over its electric-car rivals.

He said that Opel has already received 6,000 pre-orders for the car and for next year, it seeks to sell over 10,000 Amperas. Opel is developing two other EVs. One is the production version of the two-seater RAK-e vehicle that made its debut last September at the Frankfurt auto show. The other one is a battery-powered minicar.

Visser said that by the end of the year, it will decide if it will allow the RAK-e to enter regular production. If this is the case, the RAK-e may arrive in the market in 2013 at the earliest.

Sources say that this model will probably be priced between 10,000 euros and 12,000 euros. It may be produced by KTM subsidiary Kiska in Salzburg, Austria.

Kiska had helped develop the RAK-e. Visser revealed that Opel is developing an electric minicar too but he declined to provide further details. Sources told Automotive News Europe that this car would most likely be a sister model to the electric version of the Chevrolet Spark minicar that GM will launch in 2013. [source: Autonews]