Most gearheads know the Opel Ampera is the European near-twin of the Chevy Volt. There are obvious exterior differences, such as the Ampera's "boomerang" headlights and Opel badging, but inside, the only noticeable difference is another Opel badge on the steering wheel.

Bradley Hasemeyer and the Translogic crew traveled to Germany to find out if the trans-Atlantic differences were more than skin deep. Surprisingly, he found one rather interesting revision.

In the U.S., Volts get three driver-selectable operating modes. We get Normal, Sport and Mountain modes. But German Amperas get a fourth mode: Halten mode. When cruising the Autobahn, drivers can restrict the use of the Ampera's battery and run only on the small, fuel-efficient engine. Once back on surface streets, they can turn loose the battery and bask in bank-account-boosting, ridiculously good, low-cost electric motor cruising.

Why don't we get Halten mode in the U.S.? Well, the obvious reason is probably that most Americans don't speak German. Beyond that, though, Hasemeyer can only guess that government regulations might hold back implementation here. The again, maybe General Motors just likes Germans more.

Watch the video after the jump.


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  • 21 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
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      Jerry
      • 2 Years Ago
      The closing comment might be true... why did Opel stay on board through the bankruptcy when it has lost $millions and sometimes $billions a year for the last decade?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jerry
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      Making11s
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like the Volt, but I agree with critics who say the design is too staid. The Ampera's exterior injects some much needed flair in to the Volt. As for Halten mode, it's a shame we don't have it here. Saving the battery for the situations where it will do the most good (stop and go traffic, city driving) makes a whole lot of sense.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Toneron
      • 2 Years Ago
      "bank-account-boosting, ridiculously good, low-cost electric motor cruising." Ha ha ha ha! 3 idiotic lies right in a row. terrible article. You should be ashamed!
      Sol
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'd never buy a Volt since it's so boring and normal looking the Ampera on the other hand has a far better and futuristic look to it and I'd be far more likely to buy plus the hold mode is pretty sweet save the battery for stop and go while using the 35mpg highway for well highway it works with the longer travel times a lot of people have in the states
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sol
        [blocked]
          Sol
          • 2 Years Ago
          Can I import the hold option?
      ennuisoc
      • 2 Years Ago
      I saw Opel Ampera at Geneva Auto Salon and was shocked at how cheap the interior felt. Hard plastic galore! Morbidly dark interior! Slit windows, anyone? No wonder Chevrolet Volt is selling like ice cream on coldest day of the year...
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ennuisoc
        [blocked]
      Al
      • 2 Years Ago
      I really think that is one of the uglier vehicles I've seen recently. I really like the looks of the volt but this has no appeal to me what so ever. Looks like the designer was trying to be "artistic" instead of just trying to make it look good. Hold mode is a good idea. I do think that GM has the best long-term hybrid platform... it's practical, allowing the use of electic or gas, whichever is cheaper at the time making it more practical than pure EV's and more future-looking then any other hybrid platforms. I really just question if GM is really committed to the platform or if they will walk away from it when the sales crap out due to the high price tag they've placed on the vehicle.
      Lachmund
      • 2 Years Ago
      most of the world likes germans more ;)
      Jojeeka
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is pretty obvious why they have that mode and the U.S. doesn't. A bunch of Americans were calling GM LIARS because the Volt's engine wasn't 100% disconnected from the drivetrain. People made a huge deal of it. Even if it only happened at the most efficient time. That didn't matter. Anyway, I don't blame GM. So many Americans are a bunch of big hypocritical babies. Are you guys that stupid? One minute: "Liar, liar." The next minute: "Hey, why don't we have that?" Schizophrenic much? Anyway, Honda makes jets with GE engine collaboration and it is perfectly alright and smart. Neither Honda nor GE is given a hard time for this. If GM were to make something and collaborate with a Japanesse company then all the sudden, "GM is so dumb they need Japanese help." or "GM is so un-American for using Japanese help." They are in a no win situation because Ralph Nader and others have taught us that is how it is. Thanks guys! You're the best.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jojeeka
        [blocked]
      fast156GTA
      • 2 Years Ago
      The again, maybe General Motors just likes Germans more. = Then again, maybe General Motors just likes Germans more.
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