Geneva Motor Show 2011: Opel/Vauxhall unveils Ampera

General Motors' European subsidiaries Opel/Vauxhall have debuted the new Ampera electric vehicle at the Geneva Motorshow, although its cousin across the Atlantic has come in for a tough time from
Consumer Reports.

The Ampera is effectively a rebadged version of the Chevrolet Volt, the extended-range electric vehicle which General Motors launched in the US last December to considerable acclaim.

With first deliveries slated for later this year, the Ampera shares the Volt's electric motor and can manage between 40-80 kilometers on all-electric power before the gasoline engine kicks in to extend the range to 500 kilometers.

It can be charged at home, boasts a maximum speed of 161 km/h and is expected to be the first of many electric vehicles General Motors plans to bring to the public.

However, Tuesday's launch has been somewhat overshadowed by test results released February 28 by US consumer magazine Consumer Reports, which painted a less-than-flattering picture of the Chevy Volt.

"We would have really liked to have loved it," David Champion, director of Consumer Reports's auto test center was quoted as saying by Automotive News.

"It was fun to drive and the ride quality was pretty good. But when you look at the finances, for us it doesn't make any sense."

The testers found that the Volt they bought ran for only 26 miles (42 km) before the battery kicked in, well short of its predicted range, although it acknowledged that under better weather conditions the vehicle may perform better.

Nevertheless, Consumer Reports said that consumers could be better off buying a hybrid such as the Toyota Prius or Ford Fusion Hybrid, something which is likely to sting General Motors as it begins its first international push for its electric vehicle.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110228/OEM05/302289885/1186#ixzz1FL5t8Mal

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