Opel, General Motors' European unit, says its Ampera – the better-looking sister vehicle to the Chevrolet Volt – is Europe's best-selling passenger electric vehicle, accounting for more than one in five EVs sold in the continent.
Opel, citing May sales numbers, says the Ampera has accounted for more than half the EVs sold in the Netherlands through the first five months of the year, while accounting for 44 percent of Switzerland's EVs this year and more than a third of Germany's EVs. Percentages are good, but Opel didn't disclose how many Amperas have been sold in Europe this year. Whether the Ampera qualifies as an "EV" is a matter of semantics, as it's generally been referred to as either an extended-range plug-in or a plug-in hybrid here in the States.
As far as competition across the Pond, the Ampera has apparently beat out models such as the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV (it's the "i" in the U.S.) and Renault's small stable of cars and utility vehicles. In March, the Ampera, along with the Volt, won the 2012 European Car of the Year award. As with the Volt, the Ampera can go about 35 miles on a full electric charge before its on-board gas-powered generator kicks in.
- Ampera is Europe's No.1 passenger EV with more than 20 percent market share
- Top seller in several key markets including Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland
"We are proud that we are the number one in Europe. Our sales data and customer feedback confirms that we are definitely on the right track with the Ampera", says Enno Fuchs, Opel's e-mobility launch director. "Especially in markets with governmental incentives like the Netherlands we have performed very well."
In the Netherlands, the Ampera has taken more than 77 percent of the passenger EV market share in May, making it the undisputed leader of its segment by a wide margin with all the other competitors only managing single figure percentages. The average year to date market share for the Ampera in the Netherlands was more than 50 percent, underscoring its continuing popularity in that country. Based on the latest available figures, the Ampera is also the best-selling EV including Germany with a share of more than a third and Switzerland with 44 percent.
The Ampera has won more than 50 national and international prizes including the "Car of the Year 2012" award and the "World Green Car of the Year 2011". There have also been accolades for safety like the maximum 5-star Euro NCAP award.
A 16 kWh lithium ion battery powers the 111kW/150 hp electric motor of the Ampera. Depending on the style of driving and road conditions, distances of between 40 and 80 kilometers can be covered in the purely battery-operated mode, free of emissions. In extended-range mode, which activates whenever the battery has reached its minimum state of charge, power is seamlessly inverted to the electric drive unit from a generator driven by a 1.4-liter, 63 kW/86 hp gasoline engine. Extended-range mode enables a total driving range of more than 500 kilometers without refueling.