Vauxhall Motors said car buyers in the United Kingdom can purchase the Ampera plug-in hybrid for GBP28,995 (about $46,000). The price includes a GBP5,000 subsidy offered by the U.K. government to buyers of the electric cars. The Ampera is a rebadged version of the Chevrolet Volt. The Chevrolet Volt costs $41,000 in the United States. The Ampera will be sold as an Opel and will cost EUR42,900 ($57,739) in European markets outside the U.K. The Ampera is designed to be powered by electricity at all times.
For the first 25 to 50 miles (40km to 80km), electricity stored in the 16-kilowatt hour lithium ion battery pack powers the drivetrain, resulting in zero emissions. For longer trips, a gasoline-fueled engine/generator sustains the battery charge and extends the driving range to 300 miles (500km).
Vauxhall, a General Motors Co. unit, said the Ampera is likely to be all the time driven in battery mode since the battery can be recharged quickly in about three hours from a standard electricity outlet and research shows the electric drive range exceeds the U.K.'s average commuting distance. Ampera sales will start across mainland Europe in the fourth quarter of 2011. Vauxhall said it is now taking reservations for the Ampera and deliveries in the U.K. will begin in early 2012.