The Chevrolet Volt's European sibling took home a checkered flag that might as well have been green instead of black and white.

The Ampera extended-range plug-in hybrid vehicle won the this year's alt-fuel version of the Rally Monte Carlo on a combination of strong driving performance and minimal consumption of fuel and electricity. In an announcement timed with the event, General Motors' UK-based Vauxhall division said it will soon sell an entry-level version of the extended-range plug-in Ampera, in addition to the two other versions already announced.

The Ampera, which will be sold as a Vauxhall vehicle in the UK and under GM's Opel division in continental Europe, beat out vehicles such as the Tesla Roadster – which won the previous two rallies – and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV (sold in the U.S. as the "i") battery-electric vehicle. In all, about 130 vehicles took part in the Rally, with Amperas also placing third, seventh, and eighth. The race, which requires that its cars emit no more than 115 grams per kilometer of C02, covered more than 500 miles over two days.

Earlier this month, the Ampera, along with the Volt, won the 2012 European Car of the Year award. Opel, like Chevy with the Volt, says the 150-horsepower Ampera can travel as far as 35 miles before a gas-powered on-board generator starts powering the electric motor.

As for the new model, details are also minimal at this point. UK-based Autocar says Vauxhall will start selling an entry-level version of the Ampera this summer that will bring its base price to £29,995 (about $47,900 U.S., at today's exchange rates), including the UK-government's 5,000-pound "plug-in grant." Trim details are not yet available.
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VAUXHALL AMPERA WINS MONTE CARLO RALLY

Four Amperas among the top 10 in rally for alternative propulsion
French team Darniche/Lambert successful against some 130 competitors
Ampera first in durability and fuel consumption tests

Luton/Monte Carlo. After winning the "Car of the Year 2012" award, the Vauxhall/Opel Ampera has now also won the 13th International Monte Carlo Rally for electric and alternative propulsion cars.

Four Amperas ranked among the top 10 vehicles. The French duo Bernard Darniche and Joseph Lambert managed to beat the entire competitive field. On Sunday, the final day of the contest, the revolutionary electric vehicle reached the finish line in the capital of the Côte d'Azur principality.

Some 130 competitors from around 30 manufacturers took part, among them seven Amperas, including one private Ampera team. The other contenders included a Renault Fluence Z.E., a Tesla Roadster sports car, a Mitsubishi I-MiEV and a Peugeot Ion. Apart from the overall victory, the Ampera teams with Charlotte Berton and Olivier Sussot ranked third, Jean-Claude Andruet and Patrick Lienne came in 7th and Hanns Werner Wirth and Daniel Riesen finished 8th.

"The Ampera's success in this versatility contest under very challenging conditions proves its impressive balance between durability and fuel efficiency. This underscores our leadership role in the field of alternative propulsion," says Vauxhall/Opel's Director E-mobility, Enno Fuchs.

Endurance test for alternative propulsion

The rally started in the three towns of Annecy-le-Vieux, Clermont Ferrand and Lugano for 550 kilometres via Digne-les-Bains, the capital of the French district (département) Alpes-de-Haute-Provence to Monaco. On the second day, the teams had to complete a distance of 272 kilometres, leading them through Monaco and the original route of the Monte Carlo Rally through the French Maritime Alps. In two days the teams were subjected to regularity tests and had to prove their driving skills by pushing their vehicles to the limit.

Apart from the regularity tests, the focus lay with fuel consumption. With the help of a ratio derived from vehicle weight, CO2 emissions, the energy density of the fuel and its consumption, the organisers were able to calculate a comparison value and draw up an overall ranking. "The sophisticated technology of the Ampera was always reliable and enabled our tremendous success," says the French rally co-pilot, Joseph Lambert who celebrated the victory with driver Bernhard Darniche. Darniche already won the legendary Monte Carlo Rally in 1979 and has more than 10 times been successful in winning the special stage over the famous Col de Turini.

The Vauxhall Ampera is the first electric vehicle that can go anywhere anytime. A 16 kWh lithium ion battery powers the 111kW/150 hp electric motor. Depending on the style of driving and road conditions, distance of between 25 and 50 miles can be covered in the battery-operated mode, completely free of tailpipe emissions. The electric propulsion system delivers instant torque of 370Nm enables zero to 60mph acceleration in 8.7 seconds and a top speed limited to 100mph.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      goodoldgorr
      • 1 Day Ago
      After an award like this, many will be interrested to buy.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Day Ago
      *Blatant threadjack* Fisker Karma at the 2012 Monte Carlo Rally for EVs and Alt Fuel https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150766052189903.469775.338910184902&type=1
      marcopolo
      • 1 Day Ago
      Hmmm.... I notice good news about the Volt/Ampera attracts 6 comments. Bad news, would have attracted 106! (sigh)
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Day Ago
      Congrats! I'm surprised, honestly. I would have bet on a Tesla Roadster; I figured the Amperas were more entered for promotional duties... Go GM!
        SVX pearlie
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        "I figured the Amperas were more entered for promotional duties..." Of course they were entered for promotion of the car. And winning certainly helps promote the car.
      Timo
      • 1 Day Ago
      I find it dubious that Volt/Ampera gets that low emissions at the race which is far longer than its electric range. As we here know Volt/Ampera isn't very efficient with ICE only mode, so emissions would be quite a bit higher, and with electric only it would be impossible to beat Tesla Roadster with this car, at least for speed. hmmm...if I read FIA alternative energies cup regulations correctly Tesla Roadster and Volt/Ampera compete in different categories (one is pure battery electric production car for daily use, other is hybrid electric), so they do not compete against each other. Saying that "Ampera won" and comparing it to Roadster is then false information. In fact all the other cars in the list of this blog are competing in different category than Amperas. In order to get Ampera as winner you need to apply quite a bit imaginative regulations interpretation and magical mathematics. In FIA regulations there is no "overall rankings" for cars that fall into separate categories..
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Timo
        Timo is confused. Just because the rules allow different classifications of alt-fueled vehicles to compete, that doesn't preclude them from competing against each other. One may do better in some sections, while another may do better in different sections. What most people are generally interested in is the *Overall Winner*, the car with the *Best Overall Score*. In the combined results (overall win) an Opel Ampera came in #1, and a Tesla Roadster came in #17. http://www.acm.mc/documents/6/24-EN_Classement_Combine.pdf
          marcopolo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          @Timo. You don't give up easily, do you! While every one else is celebrating, there you are, in the corner with a rule book trying to prove how somebody else really won, if the had better drivers, better paint job, different rules, etc, etc , ad nuseum.! Ezee, take his rule book away, give him a proper drink, get him to take off that ridiculous anorak, before he get into and argument with Nick. I know, introduce him to that girl who can't speak English, and brought a laptop to the party. That's the one over there, the one with glasses who's studying to be an chartered accountant/actuary !! Now everyone , (on the count of three) Ampera , Ampera, Oi ! Oi, Oi !!!!
          Timo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Thanks for the document. I did search for that kind of thing, but didn't find anything. Turns out that Tesla Roadster got huge penalties and for that reason is nowhere close to the top of the list (156.05 points + 340 penalty points for Roadster vs 236.92 points + 33 penalty points for Ampera). I would very much like to see what actually happened in that race. How Roadster got those penalties? With that low normal score without penalty points it's no wonder it has won all the previous races, that's 50 points less than next best thing. There are two other Roadsters too, but with 5000+ penalty points. Apparently the drivers in Amperas did very good job (it's not the best car obviously, based on the results). Four of the seven total are in top ten.
        marcopolo
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Timo
        @Timo The Monte Carlo Rally is not about speed. The GM Ampera won Monte Carlo ! Everyone knows the Ampera only won in it's class, that's the point of a rally. different winners, in a different classes. No one cares about your anorak quibbling about the definition of obscure rules! Celebrate ! An incredible piece of US designed, EV technology, has won a prestigious rally ! That's really wonderful news after all the outrageous attacks and disinformation about Voltec vehicles. Just be happy, for the Rally team, forget participating in the persecution of GM Volt/Ampera! 7000+ Europeans have already voted by ordering an Ampera, this win really establishes Volt/Ampera in the pubic eye as the cool new car. Even Top Gear approve of the Volt/Ampera. If even Gorr and SVX pearlie can be positive, so should you !
      marcopolo
      • 1 Day Ago
      Hooray! Good for GM ! After all the negative news, these latest positive stories are just what Volt/Ampera needs.
      Nick
      • 1 Day Ago
      Very nice! Congrats to GM ! Were they using only electricity, or was the ICE allowed to kick in? I think having an ICE would give it an edge over its EV counterparts, no?
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