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2013 Opel Ampera

Published July 26, 2012

The Chevy Volt has a sister in Europe and its called the Opel Ampera. And it’s considered by many to be a better looking car. But all those things are subjective. What’s not subjective is the same basic eco friendly philosophy that goes into both cars.

The Lithium-Ion battery powers the car for the first 80 km enough to cover the average commute. When the battery runs low the gasoline powered generator supplies electricity for another 500 km. Electricity is used to propel the car at all times and regardless the speed. The Opel Ampera has a CO2 emissions rating at 0g/km on battery power and 27 g/km with the range extender. Recharging the battery is simple and convenient as it can be recharged in four hours by plugging into a standard socket. Opel estimates that an electrically driven kilometer in the Ampera costs about one-fifth the price of a kilometer driven in a conventional gasoline powered vehicle. That not only adds up to some big savings but also a quieter conscious for those concerned about their eco footprint.

The experience of driving and electric car is actually quite exciting. The electric drive unit is managing 370 Nm of torque and 111 kW of electric power and that is the equivalent of 150 hp, providing the Ampera a top speed of 160kph. And because it’s electric you have access to all that torque from zero speed where a traditional gas powered engine may manage that torque at 3000-4000rpm. It’s the silence of the drive that takes you by surprise. Its almost unnerving at first, but once you realize everything is fine and you’re car hasn’t stalled you actually quite appreciate the serenity of only hearing the slight tire noise. In a way it really puts you in closer touch with you vehicle to hear it so well. Petrol heads will have to learn that noise and obnoxious exhaust systems are a thing of the past.

Electric cars are meant to be fully rounded and utilized vehicles. The Ampera has all the space and comfort that you would find in any other modern car. It’s hatch plus four doors give it capacity to easily seat four seats and features a storage capacity of more than 10.5 cubic feet.  And of course it comes with all the same safety measure and features as any car on the market.

Opel proudly tells us the Ampera has accounted for more than half the EVs sold in the Netherlands through the first five months of 2012, and accounts for 44 percent of Switzerland’s EV sales so far this year. While coming in at over a third of Germany’s EV’s on the road. Percentages are good, but Opel didn’t disclose exactly how many Amperas have been sold in Europe this year. And most impressively is the fact that in March of 2012 the Ampera won the 2012 European Car of the Year Award.

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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