The Opel Ampera is to be offered as a rental car across Europe from the end of this year, the automaker said last week.

A deal with Europcar, one of the continent's largest car rental companies, will see the electric Ampera offered by outlets by the end of this year.

The scheme will begin in Germany's Europcar outlets from November this year, followed by Belgium and the Netherlands, before a wider roll-out throughout France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom during 2012.

The move is likely to prove a significant boost for the visibility of the Ampera, an "extended-range" vehicle which uses electric power for 80 kilometers before a gas-powered motor kicks in to extend the range to over 500 kilometers.

However, although driving the Ampera shouldn't be different from most other vehicles, first-time renters will still need to take a 10-15 introduction 'handover' with Europcar staff, which the company says will include tips on energy efficiency and and battery charging.

With a few critics accusing the Chevrolet Volt, upon which the Ampera is based, of being a hybrid rather than a true electric vehicle (it still uses gasoline), environmentally-friendly drivers will have a choice at Europcar.

The company has already announced that it will offer electric vehicles from Renault, while its competitor Hertz will offer the Nissan Leaf and Avis will offer vehicles from either Nissan or Renault.

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