We have to admit that an electric rally car sounds a little bit weird, but Opel will provide six Ampera vehicles for the prestigious international Rally Monte Carlo. According to the German manufacturer, the Opel Amperas will make their debut in the “Alternative Energy” version of the rally, which commences in Annecy-le-Vieux, Clermont-Ferrand and Lugano today.
The rally will finish on March 25 in the capital of Monaco, Monte Carlo. In order to take part, competing vehicles must have a maximum of 115g/km CO2 emissions. Apparently, the aim of the rally is to cover a certain distance at a constant speed and use as little energy as possible.
Some 150 vehicles are expected to take part this year. For those who don’t know, the Opel Ampera is the system model of the Chevrolet Volt and it is not quite an electric car as it also uses a gasoline engine. The Ampera uses a 16 kWh lithium ion battery that powers the 111kW/150 hp electric motor, and it can cover a distance of between 40 and 80 kilometers.
Still, the range depends on the style of driving and road conditions. All the wheels are powered always powered electrically and as expected, when the battery has reached its minimum state of charge the gasoline engine kicks off and acts just like a generator that supplies the electric drive unit.
The range extender enables an operating radius of 500 kilometers. Despite its low emissions, the Ampera is able to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in around 9 seconds and has a top speed of 161 km/h or 100 mph.
Opel Ampera had its global premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in 2009. Unveiling the revolutionary, extended-range electric vehicle was General Motors Europe’s president, Carl-Peter Forster. He also announced plans to put the Ampera into production starting late 2011.
The Ampera is also going to be offered by Vauxhall, Opel’s sister brand, with a right-hand drive in the UK.
According to Forster, the Opel Ampera demonstrates General Motor's leadership when it comes to automobile electrification. Its pioneering Voltec electric propulsion system showcases the sort of game-changing technology that the automotive industry needs in order to respond to environmental and energy-related challenges.
This five-door, four-seat car is influenced by the brand’s award-winning design language, which is all about sculptural artistry meeting German precision, incorporating a number of styling cues from the Flextreme and the GTC Concept show cars.
Alain Visser, VP for GME-Opel, said that there isn’t a more fitting way for Opel to celebrate its 110 years of innovation as far as the car industry is concerned than by revealing the Ampera.
Ampera's wheels are electrically turned at all times and at any speed. For up to 60 km (MVEG) of driving, the car runs on electricity that is stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery while also emitting zero carbon-dioxide. When the car’s battery runs out of energy, electricity from its engine-generator extends its range to over 500 km.
Additionally, you can plug the Ampera into an ordinary household 230-volt outlet to charge the battery. Meanwhile, GM Europe is trying to analyze recharging infrastructure requirements for plug-in electric vehicles with energy companies such as Spain’s Iberdrola.