The first pre-production Model Year 2012 Opel Ampera rolled off the assembly line at General Motors Co.'s Warren, Mich. plant. In the coming months, more pre-production Amperas will be built. But before you run off to your dealerships, take note that these are real world test vehicles.These cars won't be sold and they will not make their way to the dealers.
Testing of these Amperas will enable the automotive producer to finalize the software development stage, as well as make final adjustments to the vehicle's controls. Aside from that, GM will use the pre-production models to make fine tweaks to all aspects of the car. Some of the vehicles will be even used for safety tests.
Andrew Farah, Vehicle Chief Engineer for the Ampera, said that GM is "right on target" for its goal to produce this car for Europe later next year. He said that much work is still to be accomplished but that driving an Ampera off its pre-production line is a "great accomplishment for the teams here and in Europe."
The Opel Ampera, which will also be offered as a Vauxhall, uses the same Voltec Platform as the Chevy Volt. The model gets a 150 hp & 273 lb-ft electric motor powered by a Li-ion battery and a 1.4 liter gasoline engine. European markets will get the plug in hybrid vehicle at the end of next year.
Opel expects the new Ampera to be the first emission-free, electrically driven vehicle in Europe that could be used for everyday driving. Powered by a Voltec electric propulsion system that delivers great acceleration as well as high levels of refinement, the new Ampera could comfortably accommodate four passengers and carry ample luggage. In addition, the new Ampera offers an extended range of over 500 kilometers.
Frank Weber, global vehicle line executive and chief engineer, quipped that driving electrically is not just about ecology, but is also about great fun. He remarked that 370 Newton-meters of instantaneous, silent torque makes a driver feels like flying.
At any time and speed, the wheels of the new Opel Ampera are driven by electricity. Trips that require 60 km or less of travel are achieved with electricity supplied from a 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery for a zero-emission drive. When the battery empties its juice, a gasoline/E85-fueled engine-generator seamlessly kicks in, supplying the needed electricity to power the electric drive unit while at the same time sustaining the charge of the battery. This allows the Ampera to extend its range from 60 km to 500 km, until battery is recharged just by plugging the vehicle's on-board charge system into a standard 230v outlet.
Conventional battery-electric vehicles typically bring "range anxiety," with the driver worrying about getting stranded by a depleted battery. However, the Opel Ampera gets rid of this range anxiety to give the driver confidence and peace of mind on the road.
Hans Demant, GME's vice president of engineering, called an advanced lithium-ion battery system as the key to convincing customers purchase the new Opel Ampera. He disclosed that GME’s engineers at its research and development center in Mainz-Kastel, Germany have been extensively and thoroughly testing the lithium-ion battery to ensure that it meets customer expectations.
GM will produce the battery pack for the new Opel Ampera at its own lithium-ion production facility. The T-shaped battery pack contains more 220 lithium-ion cells, providing 150 hp of output and 370 Nm of instant torque. This allows the new Ampera to sprint from zero to 100 km/h in around nine seconds, and achieve a top speed of 161 km/h.