General Motors has confirmed the starting price for the European cousin of its Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle, the Opel Ampera.

The Ampera will start at €42,900, General Motors announced November 11, significantly more than its major European competitors such as the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

The price of both the Leaf and the i-MiEV in the European launch markets ranges from between €33,000 and €35,000.

As it opened reservations for the vehicle, Open promised that the Ampera is the "first electric car in Europe to give owners the freedom to drive wherever, whenever they want, with no worries of being stranded with a depleted battery", a swipe at the 150-160 km range of its rivals.

Thanks to a gas-powered range extender, the Ampera can travel more than 500 km on a full tank of fuel, although the modification has prompted some commentators to question whether the car is a "true" electric vehicle.

With the Ampera not expected to be available until late 2011, customers will be closely monitoring the launch of the Chevrolet Volt, which went into production in the US this week and is expected to be in showrooms by December.

The Volt starts from $41,000 (€30,095) in the United States.

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