We travelled to Frankfurt to check out the astonishing Vauxhall Ampera
What is it? Opel’s eagerly awaited zero-emission Ampera is due in Ireland next month and promises to be the world’s first usable electric car. It has both an electric motor and a petrol engine. You simply plug it in at night to a standard powerpoint in your house, leave it charge overnight or 6 hours. The next day you can drive it to work/drop off the kids, within a range of about 25-50 miles, using the electric motor and this is costing you nothing except the cost of charging it (less than £1). If you forget to charge it or run out of battery life the car simply switches to the petrol engine to regenerate the battery. The result is an electric car that drives like any other car, will last for up to 310 miles range and consumes less fuel than the lawnmower!.
First impressions of the new Vauxhall Ampera. Stylish inside and out the Ampera looks like a sleek family hatchback while the space age exterior hints at the cutting-edge technology lurking beneath the bonnet.
What about the interior? It has a futuristic cabin and all buttons are replaced with an LCD monitor operated by touch-screen. Space is decent throughout but the large battery pack extends through the centre of the car so there are only two seats in the rear.
And on the road?
Vauxhall Ampera and the city: Around the city the Ampera is smooth and effortless to drive.
Vauxhall Ampera and the open road: There is no lack of performance and there is more than enough oomph for overtaking.
How Much? Prices start from £29,995 inclusive of the government’s plug-in car grant, and the range will comprise three models, each with a choice of two interior trims
How Safe? Safety is first rate and the Ampera is equipped with all the same safety equipment as in a conventional car. It has a five star EuroNCAP rating, the highest that can be achieved.
3 words to describe the Vauxhall Ampera; Futuristic, Astounding, Parsimoniously (Frugal)