Geneva 2009: Opel goes Voltec, Ampera coming in late 2011

Click above for a high-res gallery of the Opel Ampera concept

General Motors Europe boss Carl-Peter Forster began this morning's press conference in Geneva with an acknowledgment of the dire financial straights that the entire industry is experiencing right now. Forster also candidly admitted that GM is currently investigating all options when it comes to changing its relationship with Opel, including outside equity investments. Once he got past all the bad news, however, he introduced the production-intent version of the Opel Ampera. If it looks familiar, it should. If it doesn't, well, what rock have you been hiding under for the last two years? The Ampera is the Opel badged variant of the Chevrolet Volt. It uses the same Voltec powertrain as the Volt, as well as most of its body.

The main differences are the markedly more aggressive front and rear fascias and the black (rather than white) interior. Like the Volt, most of the front fascia is closed off to optimize aerodynamics. The styling of the nose is a mix of the 2007 GTC and Flextreme concepts, and we rather like the bold new look, particularly the chevron-like forms that grow downward from the headlamps.

The Ampera is planned for production in late 2011, about one year after the Volt. A right-hand drive Vauxhall version is scheduled to launch a year after that.

Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

March 2, 2009

Geneva World Premiere: Opel Ampera to Debut in 2011

Electric car with 500 km extended range

Geneva/Rüsselsheim. The revolutionary Opel Ampera today celebrated its world premiere at the 79th Geneva Motor Show. General Motors Europe president, Carl-Peter Forster, unveiled the extended-range electric vehicle and announced plans to put the car into production in late 2011.

The Ampera will also be offered with right-hand drive in the United Kingdom by Opel's sister-brand, Vauxhall.
"The Opel Ampera further demonstrates GM's leadership in the electrification of the automobile," said Carl-Peter Forster. "Its ground-breaking Voltec electric propulsion system is the kind of game-changing technology the automotive industry needs to respond to energy and environmental challenges."

The five-door, four-seat Ampera is influenced by Opel's award-winning design language of sculptural artistry meets German precision, incorporating several styling cues from the innovative Flextreme and GTC Concept show cars
"There could not be a more fitting way to celebrate Opel's 110 years of innovation in the car industry than by revealing the Ampera," said Alain Visser, GME Vice President Opel.

The Ampera's wheels are turned electrically at all times and speeds. For journeys up to 60 km (MVEG), it runs on electricity stored in the 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery, and emits zero CO2. When the battery's energy is depleted, electricity from an engine-generator extends the Ampera's range to more than 500 km.

The Ampera can be plugged into any household 230v outlet for charging. GM Europe is analyzing the requirements of a recharging infrastructure for plug-in electric cars with energy companies, including Iberdrola of Spain.

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