The British version of the Chevrolet Volt, the Vauxhall Ampera, has been given a price tag: £33,995. That's $53,827 U.S. at today's exchange rates and enough to put the UK car in the middle of the Volt family price spread. In other parts of Europe, the Ampera costs €42,900 ($58,600 U.S.) and here in the U.S. it's $41,000. The good news for potential buyers is that the car is one of nine that the UK government announced today will qualify for a "plug-in car grant" worth £5,000. This brings the cost down to a more manageable but still expensive £28,995 ($45,910 U.S.), a level General Motors says puts the plug-in car "into the mainstream" as "an uncompromised reality for families." The right-hand drive Ampera will be available in the spring of 2012; but, starting in late 2011, UK buyers will be able to buy a Volt.

Starting today, Vauxhall is taking £150 reservation fees (refundable) from people who want to be Ampera 'ePioneers.' Interested parties can head on over to the Vauxhall Ampera's website to sign up "and also access exclusive events and opportunities in the build up to launch." Oh, there are also, "Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links." Have fun with that.

The other eight vehicles that can take advantage of the £5000 plug-in car grant starting next year – not all of which are available – include:
More will be added to the list in the future.

[Source: Vauxhall, UK Central Office of Information, Car Magazine]

PRESS RELEASES

AMPERA'S SUB-£30K PRICE BRINGS E-REV INTO THE MAINSTREAM

* Announced today - Ampera qualifies for Plug-In Car Grant of £5000
* Customers to pay £28,995 after benefiting from grant
* UK's first extended-range electric vehicle now an uncompromised reality for families
* Up to 50 miles battery only commuting with 360-mile range when needed
* Opportunity to become a Vauxhall Ampera ' ePioneer'

Luton – Vauxhall has announced today that its revolutionary Ampera Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV) will cost under £30k when it hits UK showrooms in early 2012, bringing the reality of a technologically sophisticated, electrically-driven, family car with an uncompromised driving range firmly into the mainstream.

After taking advantage of the £5000 Plug-In Car Grant, customers will pay just £28,995 for the Ampera. And it's not just the price that impresses; with the efficiency of up to 50 miles range on battery power, free TFL congestion charge, no Vehicle Excise Duty payments and 5% company car taxation, Ampera's overall running costs will be extremely low.

The Vauxhall Ampera is the only real-world electric car solution for a family. It is extremely efficient, unique in the market and has a number of operating modes, maximising performance in all circumstances. Its 50 mile battery electric drive range exceeds the UK's average commuting distance but when a longer journey is required, Ampera's range-extender engine/generator produces electricity on board. The generator engages seamlessly once the battery has reached a minimum level of charge. The 50-mile battery electric range is thus extended by 310 miles permitting the driver to travel up to 360 miles without the need for recharging or refuelling.

A full charge for Ampera's battery can be achieved in less than four hours via a domestic 240v electricity socket at an average cost of around £1, depending on tariff. Commuting within the 50 mile range will ensure very low running costs on battery electric drive only.

Become an ePioneer

Vauxhall is offering the exciting opportunity to become an ePioneer and be amongst the first to own an Ampera. For a £150 fully refundable reservation fee, potential customers can register at www.vauxhall-ampera.co.uk where they can pre-order an Ampera and also access exclusive events and opportunities in the build up to launch. There is no commitment to purchase.

The same website also offers much more information on the Vauxhall Ampera and includes Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links.

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


ELECTRIC CAR REVOLUTION REVS UP FOR 2011

Department for Transport (National)

The Government drove the UK firmly into the fast lane of the electric and ultra-low emission car revolution today as Ministers unveiled nine trailblazing models that will be eligible for generous grants of up to £5,000.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond and Business Minister Mark Prisk announced the milestone which could make 2011 the year of the electric car for the UK - and revealed five more regions that will be installing local charging points having successfully bid for a share of a £20m fund.

From January, the motoring map of the country will start to be redrawn as government and car industry work in partnership to give drivers a wide choice of clean, green transport.

The first nine cars to become eligible for eco-friendly car grants are: Mitsubishi iMiEV; smart fortwo electric drive; Peugeot iON; Citroen CZero; Nissan Leaf; Tata Vista EV; Toyota Prius Plug-in; Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt. More will follow next year.

The grant will be available to motorists across the UK from 1 January 2011, reducing the cost of eligible cars by a quarter, up to a maximum of £5,000.

The Government is also encouraging a new network of electric vehicle recharging points in streets, car parks and commercial retail and leisure facilities as driving electric cars becomes a part of everyday life for pioneering British drivers. The successful bidding consortia in this second phase are based in: the Midlands; Greater Manchester; East of England; Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said:

"A few years ago, ultra-low emission cars with mass market appeal appeared just a pipe dream. Now they are a reality and we can have all the convenience of the car without all the carbon that normally goes with it.

"Government action to support affordable vehicles and more local charging points means we are on the threshold of an exciting green revolution - 2011 could be remembered as the year the electric car took off.

"The British public has in the past shown it's ready to embrace new technology and take practical steps to adopt a lifestyle kinder to the environment, so we could really be at the start of something big."

Business Minister Mark Prisk said:

"Today's news that motorists will be able to choose from at least nine cars under the consumer incentive scheme and that we are expanding the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles will further reinforce the message that the UK is Europe's leading producer of ultra low carbon vehicles."

Today's announcement further confirms the UK as a global front runner in the market for ultra-low emission cars and open for business for hi-tech green manufacturing. This builds on Nissan's decision to produce the Leaf in Sunderland and the work the Automotive Council is doing to improve the way Government works with industry.

Notes to editors

1. The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) is a cross-Government team, bringing together existing policy and funding streams to drive and streamline policy delivery. It incorporates policies, people and funding from DfT, BIS and DECC.

2. As announced at the Spending Review, the Government has made provision of over £400m to promote the uptake of ultra-low carbon vehicle technologies. This includes approximately £80m supporting research and development activities; £20m for the installation of infrastructure; and, subject to review, provision of around £300m to support consumer incentives for the life of the Parliament. We will continue to monitor the most effective way to deliver this investment. The first review of the Plug-In Car Grant will take place in 2012.

The Plug-In Car Grant

3. The following cars have been confirmed as eligible for the Plug-in Car Grant, which consumers will be able to benefit from directly at the point of purchase from 1 January 2011. Eligible models are as follows:

To view the table that accompanies this release, please follow the link below;
http://nds.coi.gov.uk/ImageLibrary/detail.aspx?MediaDetailsID=2731

4. More vehicles are expected to be deemed eligible as the scheme continues.

5. The level of the Plug-In-Car Grant has been agreed until 31 March 2012. The level will be reviewed in January 2012; taking into consideration a number of key factors, such as the costs of vehicles and the development of the early market. The level will then be set for subsequent years. £43m has been made available up to the end of March 2012.

Plugged-In Places

6. Consortia based in the Midlands; Greater Manchester; East of England; Scotland and Northern Ireland have all bid successfully for the second round of Plugged-In Places funding. These schemes will provide over 4,000 charging points across the life of the scheme; at home, in on-street locations and at public, workplace and retail car parks. They present a mix of innovative technologies, operating models, incentives and marketing strategies that will inform the future roll out of a national EV re-charging infrastructure. Details of the successful bids are as follows:

To view the table that accompanies this release, please follow the link below;https://nds.coi.gov.uk/ImageLibrary/DownloadMedia.ashx?MediaDetailsID=2726

7. Funding to March 2013 for the three existing Plugged-In Places projects, based in London, Milton Keynes and the North East, will also be drawn from the £20mfund.

8. Two projects announced last month under Ofgem's Low Carbon Network Fund (CE Electric UK in the North East and UK Power Networks in London) will investigate, amongst other things, the importance of smart grids to the roll out of electric drive vehicles[1].

[1] Low Carbon Network Fund fact sheet: http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Media/FactSheets/Documents1/LCNbro.pdf; Low Carbon Network Fund press release: http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Media/PressRel/Documents1/LCN%20Fund%20Press%20Release%20FINAL.pdf

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