Vauxhall Ampera - iDrive
The Ampera finally ends electric car range anxiety
Friday 22 July 2011
We're only just over halfway through 2011 but I think I've already driven this year's most significant new car. The Vauxhall Ampera is quite simply an electric vehicle that overcomes the main drawback of other battery-powered cars – limited range.
This is how it works: Charge it from the mains and it runs on its batteries for about 40 miles. When the batteries have been drained to a certain level, a range-extending, 1.4-litre petrol engine kicks in that allows the Ampera to cover a similar distance to mainstream petrol and diesel cars.
But doesn't that make it a hybrid? Vauxhall says no. In a hybrid like the Toyota Prius, the contributions of the petrol engine and electric motor are “blended”, with each frequently cutting in and out as appropriate.
The Ampera, though, is always driven by its electric motor. In the early stages of a journey, it draws upon the batteries. Later, the petrol engine drives a generator, which in turn powers the electric motor. Performance is the same in either case, and the petrol engine, when it comes into play, is very quiet and turns only slowly.
What you get is an impressive car that offers the interior space of a Vauxhall Astra but the drive-train refinement of a top-end Mercedes or Jaguar. In battery mode, the Ampera is almost silent, and it doesn’t get much louder when the petrol engine joins in.
It should be inexpensive to run as mains electricity costs far less per mile than petrol – the figures in the table are indicative and depend on the exact pattern of use.
Price: £28,955 after £5,000 government plug-in car subsidy
Engine capacity: electric motor plus 1.4-litre petrol
Power output: 150 (electric motor), 86 (petrol range extender)
Max torque: 370 (electric motor), 130 (petrol range extender)
Top speed (mph): 100 0-60 mph (seconds): 9 approx
Fuel economy (mpg): over 175
CO2 emissions (g/km): less than 40
The Ampera’s biggest rivals will be its Chevrolet-badged sister car, the Volt, the Nissan Leaf and the hybrid Toyota Prius.
Life & Style blogs
Snapchat removed the Best Friends list feature and 'stalkers' are upset
Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Eight-year-old girl Camilla Lisant suggests possible cure for cancer to her scientist father
Lack of medically trained staff leaves NHS 111 phone service struggling to cope, insider claims
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...