• Dec 8, 2010
2011 Opel Ampera – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt made major media waves when it was first revealed that its engine could power the drive wheels independently under certain circumstances. According to a report from HeadlineAuto in the UK, though, General Motors' European division is actually considering adding a switch for the Opel Ampera (the Volt's more attractive European cousin) that would allow the driver to control how the drivetrain operates.

For instance, when driving longer distances, such as when traveling from city to city, the driver could potentially switch the car into its so-called charge sustaining mode so that the gasoline-powered engine would run constantly in order to maintain a full charge of the battery. Then, after the speeds slow back down and the driver re-enters an urban area, the car could be put back into its normal battery-first mode.

At this point, this report appears to be little more than speculation based on statements made by GM's Lars Peter Thiesen, who is overseeing the process of tuning the Opel Ampera for the European market. There's currently no reason to believe that GM would make such a modification to the U.S.-spec Volt.



[HeadlineAuto UK – sub. req.]


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  • 30 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's a shame the Volt is so ugly compared to the Ampera I'd at least consider buying one with that body style
        • 4 Years Ago
        Maybe GM could consider a Buick Ampera, according the success of the Volt.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Here's an idea: Hook the thing up to a navigation system. When the driver sets the destination, the car can calculate the best way to balance the use of full-battery and full-gas modes. If the car knows it's going to do 20 minutes in city driving, an 2 hours on the freeway, then 30 minutes in city conditions (or whatever combination), it could probably figure out the best way to utilize its systems.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's a really cool idea actually.

        I know some Fords already have an eco-route option...this would be the next step.

        As for the article, I like giving the driver control, but also fear people would use it incorrectly and then piss and moan that the car isn't actually efficient. That's at least how it'd go here in the States.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Think of how much energy we would save if our government just mandated work-from-home tomorrow. Why NOT? (for those jobs that CAN)
        • 4 Years Ago
        How about the government NOT mandate stuff it has no business in?

        And this feels like a pretty off-topic political rant for an AUTOblog.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "the Volt's more attractive European cousin"

      Beauty may lie in the eye of the beholder, but this writer be holdin some ugly cars
        • 4 Years Ago
        aside from the blacked out front detail and the lower rear bumper area there really isn't much difference is there?. It still isn't attractive to me. It seems thick at the bottom.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This has to do with dense urban areas in Europe that either have congestion charges or restrictions to allow only to ultra-low CO2 cars, EV-only being proposed. Basically use the gasoline engine to get to the urban center, then us the battery within it to get around the regulations.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Congrats... I think you're the first poster to actually "get it"
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ok, so let me give you this brand new LCD LED TV, with a built in Black and white mode so you can switch to it to save the color pixels.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "actually considering adding a switch for the Opel Ampera that would allow the driver to control how the drivetrain operates."

      Hmmm ... sorta like how many European cars have this lever, with NO computer in the decision making, in which the driver could control what gear the transmission is in.

      Not that I'd expect to see a Volt/Ampera with a stick shift too, but for an area in which manually controlling the car's operation is a norm, I would say that including such a switch is a must.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Neat.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh you mean petrol - not actually gas or LPG.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Makes sense. I would like to have that option -- even if I never used it, nice to know.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thats a good thing, maybe in the future GM will be able to make run it on gas all the time, That way it can be sold as the Chevy Cruze, Bypassing the electric crap, and get this! be fueled in as little as 5 minutes.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "the Volt's more attractive European cousin" -- someone at AB is sitting on their taste buds.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree, I prefer the cleaner-looking Volt.
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