Opel wants to become a leader in electric cars

Article by Christian A., on October 24, 2011

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]

Opel Ampera was launched at the 79th Geneva Motor Show. General Motors Europe president Carl-Peter Forster revealed the electric vehicle and announced the production schedule for the car in late 2011.

Ampera will also come out with a right-hand drive version in the United Kingdom, thanks to Vauxhall, Opel’s sister brand.

Forster says that the Opel Ampera further demonstrates the carmaker’s leadership in electric vehicles with its Voltec electric propulsion system, which is a game changer when it comes to meeting environmental and energy challenges.

Opel Ampera has five doors and four seats, mirroring the award-winning design language that combines sculptural artistry and German precision. It also makes use of various design cues from both Flextreme and GTC Concept cars.

GME Vice President for Opel Alain Visser says that there is no better way to celebrate the brand’s 110 years of innovation in their industry than the launch of the Opel Ampera.

The wheels on the Opel Ampera are electrically turned no matter what your speed is. Driving up to 60 kilometers, the car runs on electricity powered by its 16 kWh lithium ion battery. As such, it emits no carbon dioxide. Once the battery is depleted, the car then uses electricity from its engine-generator and that is good for at least 500 kilometers more.

You can plug the Opel Ampera into any 230 volts outlets at your house to charge it. GM Europe is currently studying what is required of a recharging infrastructure for electric cars with Spain’s Iberdrola and other energy companies.

Ampera will be the first electric and emission-free car in the European market that is perfect for daily driving. The Voltec electric propulsion system gives you great acceleration times and refinement. The five-door Opel Ampera can comfortably seat four passengers and has great trunk space for your luggage. Lastly, it has an extended range of at least 500 kilometers.

Topics: opel, electric car

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