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Click above for a high-res gallery of the Opel Ampera concept

General Motors Europe boss Carl-Peter Forster began this morning's press conference in Geneva with an acknowledgment of the dire financial straights that the entire industry is experiencing right now. Forster also candidly admitted that GM is currently investigating all options when it comes to changing its relationship with Opel, including outside equity investments. Once he got past all the bad news, however, he introduced the production-intent version of the Opel Ampera. If it looks familiar, it should. If it doesn't, well, what rock have you been hiding under for the last two years? The Ampera is the Opel badged variant of the Chevrolet Volt. It uses the same Voltec powertrain as the Volt, as well as most of its body.

The main differences are the markedly more aggressive front and rear fascias and the black (rather than white) interior. Like the Volt, most of the front fascia is closed off to optimize aerodynamics. The styling of the nose is a mix of the 2007 GTC and Flextreme concepts, and we rather like the bold new look, particularly the chevron-like forms that grow downward from the headlamps.

The Ampera is planned for production in late 2011, about one year after the Volt. A right-hand drive Vauxhall version is scheduled to launch a year after that.

Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

March 2, 2009

Geneva World Premiere: Opel Ampera to Debut in 2011

Electric car with 500 km extended range

Geneva/Rüsselsheim. The revolutionary Opel Ampera today celebrated its world premiere at the 79th Geneva Motor Show. General Motors Europe president, Carl-Peter Forster, unveiled the extended-range electric vehicle and announced plans to put the car into production in late 2011.

The Ampera will also be offered with right-hand drive in the United Kingdom by Opel's sister-brand, Vauxhall.
"The Opel Ampera further demonstrates GM's leadership in the electrification of the automobile," said Carl-Peter Forster. "Its ground-breaking Voltec electric propulsion system is the kind of game-changing technology the automotive industry needs to respond to energy and environmental challenges."

The five-door, four-seat Ampera is influenced by Opel's award-winning design language of sculptural artistry meets German precision, incorporating several styling cues from the innovative Flextreme and GTC Concept show cars
"There could not be a more fitting way to celebrate Opel's 110 years of innovation in the car industry than by revealing the Ampera," said Alain Visser, GME Vice President Opel.

The Ampera's wheels are turned electrically at all times and speeds. For journeys up to 60 km (MVEG), it runs on electricity stored in the 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery, and emits zero CO2. When the battery's energy is depleted, electricity from an engine-generator extends the Ampera's range to more than 500 km.

The Ampera can be plugged into any household 230v outlet for charging. GM Europe is analyzing the requirements of a recharging infrastructure for plug-in electric cars with energy companies, including Iberdrola of Spain.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Slight changes made a big difference. I like this much better than the Volt.
      • 6 Years Ago
      3 factors should help to give the Ampera success in Europe, rather thatn the debatable business case in the States. 1st, Europeans are willing to pay much more for small cars than much of the US. The relationship of small (C segment) to cheap is just not there. 2nd, commutes are bit shorter, so the Voltec drive train should be able to accommodate more peoples daily needs. Last, the Sky-high fuel prices could actually make it a viable choice. That said, can I please get a diesel Malibu? That sure would help with my 150+ mile days.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I would also have to say that in the US range will not be an issue with this car. 40 miles on electric only would be a deal breaker if there were not a gas engine backup. What i feel we should do here in the US is provide tax incentives for businesses that allow employees to charge their cars at work. Then you halve the range needed, and could even produce a volt with fewer batteries and still have the same effective range. require corporations use green energy for this and give the owners of the cars free fillups while at work. Most people commute less than 20miles to work and very very few are dumb enough to commute 40 to work. (but the more you commute the more relative a car like this is to you from a cost savings standpoint)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Clear wheels? GM, you nasty. You're gonna get a ho promotion.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Nice looking. Samurai Panda.

        Finally what everyone has been waiting for, a design that neccesitates cleaning the brake dust off the back of your wheels. (Which, BTW, except for the clear inserts, look much like the rims on the Mazda5.)
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is another great example of why GM is almost bankrupt.
      Great car, but late 2011, a year after the US version. Then Aussie's get it 2 years after US. So almost 4 years until you buy one in Australia.

      Can you even buy a camaro yet? We saw that like 5 years ago.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It takes time and resources to localize a product to meet the local safety and other regulations. Staggering the release dates allows GM to spread those costs over a greater period of time. How is that an example of why GM is bankrupt? It would be more costly for GM to pull people off of other projects so that more teams can concurrently work on the various versions of the Volt, an expensive car that GM is likely going to initially lose money on, in a brand new segment (plug-in hybrids). But by golly, Australia (which, by the way, has a population barely larger then New York) would get their car sooner.

        Also, since GM will likely lose money on every Volt sold until it can bring the costs of the batteries down through mass-production, staggering the release dates means that perhaps they'll be turning a profit by the time it's released in Europe.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm still hoping we'll see the 5 door hatch Flextreme body style in the U.S. one of these days.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Will this be the Saturn version? oh wait................
      • 6 Years Ago
      When a pet has eyes that look like that, you take it to the vet and he prescribes ointment.