Vauxhall/Opel Ampera and Chevrolet Volt voted “Car of the Year 2012”

Article by Christian A., on March 6, 2012

COTY’s UK jurors gave the Vauxhall/Opel Ampera and Chevrolet Volt the award for ‘Car of the Year’ with the highest score of 47 points. The judges, which consisted of 59 leading automotive journalists from 23 nations in Europe, paid tribute to these groundbreaking electric vehicles. The winner -- Vauxhall Ampera / Chevrolet Volt – won with 330 points, with a considerable lead against runner-up: VW Up (with 281 points) and Ford Focus (with 256).

This also marks the first time ever that they made their selections in the context of the 2012 Geneva International Motor Show.

The President of the COTY judging panel, Hakan Matson, handed the “Car of the Year 2012” award to Karl-Friedrich Stracke, the CEO of Opel/Vauxhall, and Susan Docherty, Chevrolet’s President and Managing Director for Europe. There had been seven COTY finalists before the Ampera and the Volt later emerged as the joint overall winner.

At the start, there were 35 newly launched vehicles in this contest. The judges made their choices based on selection criteria like design, comfort, performance and innovative technologies, and efficiency. Actually, the Ampera and the Volt are the first electric vehicles in the market that can go anytime to any location.

Its 111kW/150 hp electric motor is powered by a 16 kWh lithium ion battery. The automaker claims that a 40-80 kilometer distance may be covered when it’s in the purely battery-operated mode (totally emission-free) but there may be variation depending on the driving style and road conditions.

The cars’ wheels are powered electrically. When being driven in extended-range mode, the battery is prepared to reach its minimum state of charge. It’s the gasoline engine boosts a generator that supplies the electric drive unit. This range-extender results to an operating radius of 500 kilometers.

Customers in Europe are in for a treat as Opel has released its most innovative offering with the Ampera. Not only will it be powered with electricity, it will have no emissions and is fit for driving on a daily basis. The main feature of this five-door model is the Voltec electric propulsion system which allows for excellent refinement levels and more energetic acceleration.

It even allows for additional range of at least 500 km. In addition, the cabin allows four passengers to sit comfortably and there is a trunk with enough space to fit their luggage. Power comes from the advanced lithium-ion battery capable of 16 kWh and allows for travel of a maximum of 60 km. This battery pack comes in a T-shape and is composed of at least 220 lithium-ion cells. When powered with electricity, the Ampera does not exhibit any CO2 emissions. However if the energy in the battery is depleted, this does not spell the end of a wonderful drive.

The electricity is now sourced from the engine generator that is fueled by gas/E85. Under this set-up, the Ampera can go as far as 500 km. While this generator is working, the charge of the battery is sustained. Because of this, the Ampera is able to remove any of the range anxiety that other standard battery-electric cars display. Driving the Ampera not only gives the driver confidence but it also offers peace of mind since there is no worry of being stranded.

Recharging the battery pack is relatively easy as the on-board charge system can easily be plugged to a conventional 230-volt outlet found in the home. This pack will be created by GM at its very own and first lithium-ion production factory.

This will also be the first to be operated and managed by a major auto manufacturer located in the U.S. Using the battery pack, the Ampera is able to offer 150 hp with peak torque of 370 Nm. This allows for a maximum speed of 161 km/h with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.0 seconds.

Commenting on the Ampera, Frank Weber shared that electric driving should not be limited to ecology but should be fun to do as well. Weber is both the chief engineer and Opel’s Global Vehicle Line Executive. With a silent and instant torque measuring 370 Nm, the driver will have the sensation of flight, he added.

Press Release

Ampera and Volt voted “Car of the Year 2012”

The Opel Ampera and the Chevrolet Volt have today won the “Car of the Year 2012” award. By handing victory to the revolutionary electric vehicles, the panel of judges, made up of 59 leading automotive journalists from 23 European nations, paid tribute to General Motor’s innovative foresight. The Opel Ampera / Chevrolet Volt were the undisputed winners with 330 points against VW Up (281) and Ford Focus (256).

For the first time in the history of the prize, the final selection was made in the context of the Geneva international motor show. The Opel/Vauxhall CEO, Karl-Friedrich Stracke, and Chevrolet’s President and Managing Director for Europe, Susan Docherty, were both handed the “Car of the Year 2012” award by the President of the COTY judging panel, Hakan Matson.

The Ampera and the Volt emerged as the joint overall winner in a field of seven COTY finalists. Initially, 35 recently launched vehicles entered the contest. The selection criteria applied by the judges were based on attributes such as design, comfort, performance and especially innovative technologies as well as efficiency – areas where the Ampera and the Volt excel.

"It is a proud moment for us and an honor to receive this award from Europe’s leading jury of automotive journalists," said Susan Docherty, President and Managing Director, Chevrolet Europe. "Our car demonstrates that electric driving can be fun and reliable without ever compromising the owners’ lifestyle."

“We are extremely pleased that our revolutionary electric vehicle has emerged as the winner in such a tough field of competitors. And we are very proud of this accolade,” says the Opel/Vauxhall CEO, Karl-Friedrich Stracke. “This encourages us further to continue our leadership role in the area of e-mobility.”

The Volt and the Ampera have won many international awards including the “World Green Car of the Year 2011” and the “North American Car of the Year 2011” award. There have also been accolades for safety like the maximum 5-star Euro NCAP award.

The Ampera and the Volt are the first electric vehicles in the market 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 car 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.

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