Opel Ampera
2011 Opel Ampera – Click above for high-res image gallery

General Motors is ready to begin taking orders for the 2011 Opel Ampera, the European cousin of the Chevrolet Volt. The MSRP has been set at €42,900, which equals roughly $58,718 USD based on current exchange rates, or $18,438 more than a Volt here in the States. Sure, the front end is more aggressive and the wheels are better but is the Ampera nearly $20,000 better than the our all-American electric sedan?

The answer lies with Europe's Value Added Tax, otherwise known as VAT – add German's 19 percent VAT, and the final price becomes €42,900. Take away the VAT and the price is €36,050 or about $49,280, which is a bit closer to the cost of the Volt.

Those interested in purchasing an Opel Ampera can register at Opel-Ampera.com to become "ePioneers." Those brave, electric pioneers will have access to updates on the car, a chance to test drive one and the first opportunity to purchase the Ampera when it goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2011. More information can be found in the press release idling silently after the jump.


Related GalleryOpel Ampera

[Source: General Motors]
Show full PR text
Opel Ampera – Revolutionary Electric Car Starts at 42,900 euros
  • Environmentally Friendly: Family car drives 40 - 80 km electrically
  • Freedom: Battery re-charges in three hours; endless e-driving possible
  • No Anxiety: Range can be extended to more than 500 km when needed
  • Spacious: Five-door car seats four and has ample trunk space
  • Dynamic: Nearly silent torque feels like flying
  • Reservations now being taken

Rüsselsheim. Electric mobility begins now: Starting today, Opel will begin taking reservations for the 2011 Ampera, Europe's first electric vehicle that also features extended-range capability.

Electric mobility is the best solution for reducing automobile emissions and dependency on petroleum but if electric vehicles are to have a significant benefit on the environment and society, they must be attractive to a wide variety of buyers, not just city dwellers. Now this ambitious goal has become considerably easier to reach – with the revolutionary Ampera electric car.

The majority of drivers will find an electric car, such as the Ampera, remarkably easy to accept. That is because in addition to a powerful, 16 kWh lithium-ion battery, it has a unique electric propulsion system that extends its driving range. While providing all the benefits of state-of-the-art battery electric vehicles, such as zero tailpipe emissions and spirited performance, the innovative Ampera is not compromised by the typical disadvantages, such as limited range or long hours of immobility spent recharging a large battery.

That makes the five-door, four-seat Ampera 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. The manufacturer's suggested retail price throughout Europe for the base model starts at 42,900 euros, including national VAT. In Germany, with 19 percent VAT, the Ampera net price is 36,050 euros. Because trim levels will differ from market to market, prices in each country may differ. Customers wishing to reserve an Ampera can register at www.opel-ampera.com and become an 'ePioneer', receiving exclusive news and a chance to test drive the electric car. In addition, they will be among the first to have the opportunity to own Europe's first practical, family electric car. Sales start in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Some competitors choose to split their offers for electric cars into two portions: a base price for the car and a leasing rate for the battery pack. This does make the price appear attractive because the battery leasing rate is not highlighted. However, battery leases are paid monthly for several years, so the total cost is roughly the same as a car whose total price includes both the car and the battery. Opel's pricing scheme eliminates confusion by listing the total cost of the car and battery. Opel is also researching customer preferences regarding financing and leasing schemes for the Ampera. The company will announce these options later.

"The Ampera defines a new class of e-mobility. No other electric vehicle provides the freedom of individual transportation as the Opel Ampera," said Alain Visser, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales at Opel. "We have compromised on nothing. The Ampera is a beautiful car that is as fun to drive as it is packed with premium content."

Reliable battery not disturbed by inclement weather

The Ampera is an electric vehicle that can operate in a wide range of weather climates. It is powered by electricity at all times and speeds. For the first 40 – 80 km, power is supplied by the electricity stored in the 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery. While driving on electricity delivered by the battery, the Ampera drives free of gas- and tailpipe-emissions.

Independent research found that about 80 percent of Europeans drive less than 60 kilometers per day, so the Ampera would meet their requirements. When the Ampera's battery runs low, the battery can be recharged in about three hours at 230v by plugging the vehicle's on-board charge system into a standard outlet. Because the battery can be re-charged quickly, most Amperas are likely to be driven in battery mode nearly all the time.

If a longer trip is required, the gasoline-fueled engine/generator can seamlessly extend the total driving range to more than 500 kilometers on a full tank. This range-extending technology means the Ampera is suitable for worry-free daily use by the whole family.

If electric vehicles are to have a significant benefit on the environment, they must be sold in high volume. Electric cars like the Ampera – with extended range capability – are the quickest way to reach this goal because they require few adjustments in lifestyle.

Beautiful design – clearly an Opel

The Ampera carries the DNA of Opel's new design language – a prominent grille, bold Opel badge and daring boomerang headlamps. Every element of the Ampera was designed and analyzed for efficiency, making the Ampera one of the most aerodynamic and energy-efficient vehicles in the market.

Inside, the Ampera is packed with the premium content fitting for a ground-breaking vehicle. From Bose speakers to touch-screen monitors, this car brings mobility to the 21st century.

The Ampera already has won high accolades from specialists throughout the continent. Awards from authoritative magazines and websites include Greenest Car of the Year by www.whatcar.co.uk, innovation trophy from L'Automobile Magazine in France and best electric car by Auto Swiat in Poland.

PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS: Opel Ampera General

Vehicle type: 5-door, front-wheel-drive hatchback
Category: Electric vehicle with extended-range capability
Chassis: independent McPherson struts front, compound crank twist axle rear, four-wheel disc brakes, full regenerative brakes to maximize energy capture, electric power-assist steering
Seating capacity: four

Performance
Top speed (km/h): 161
EV range (km): 40 - 80 (MVEG cycle)
Total range (km) > 500

Dimensions
Wheelbase (mm): 2685
Length (mm): 4404
Width (mm): 1798
Height (mm): 1430
Cargo volume (L): 301

Battery system
Type: lithium-ion
Energy (kWh) 16

Electric drive unit
Power (kW / hp): 111 / 150
Torque (Nm): 370

Exterior
Tire and wheel size: specially developed low rolling-resistance tires on 17-inch forged aluminum wheels