Vauxhall Ampera prototype – Click above for high-res image gallery
British drivers won't be able to get their hands on the Vauxhall Ampera until 2012, but a pre-production example will be traversing England on June 22. Severall Vauxhall officials will be piloting the extended range electric vehicle from Vauxhall headquarters in Luton to the assembly plant at Ellesmere Port. That's a distance of over 170 miles which would make it the longest ever UK trip by an electric vehicle.
Of course, the Ampera, which is the European version of the Chevrolet Volt, won't be running completely emissions free since it only has a 40-mile range in the battery. Beyond that, the 1.4-liter range extender will keep the battery sufficiently charged to complete the trip. Of course, now that this trip has been announced, we're confident that some UK-based Tesla Roadster owner will undertake a 200 mile+ trip in the days before the Ampera run.
*UPDATE: Of course, there was a 265-mile trip around London (twice) by the Racing Green Endurance team.
AMPERA E-REVS UP FOR UK'S LONGEST EV-ER ROAD TRIP
- Longest single road trip ever for an electric vehicle in the UK
- 'Range anxiety' a thing of the past, with Ampera's electrically-driven 350-mile range
- Marks start of Ampera's charge on the UK market, ahead of launch in early 2012
The prototype Ampera, which goes on sale in the UK in early 2012, will appropriately be driven in relay by a selection of drivers from Vauxhall's home in Luton, Bedfordshire to its passenger car plant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire - a journey of more than 170 miles.
Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall's MD, who will drive the Ampera on the first leg of its journey from the company's Heritage Centre in Luton, said: "It's quite poignant that Luton, our home for the last 105 years, should mark the starting point of not just this historic journey, but also the future of E-REV vehicles in the UK. In the last century, Vauxhall has pioneered innovation and technology for mainstream car buyers, and this commitment will continue with the Ampera. We're truly energising the future for British motorists."
With a real-world range of 350 miles, the Ampera will be using under half its available power as it travels north up the M1 and M6 motorways, calling in at Vauxhall's Brand Centre at Star City, Birmingham on the way. Electricity drives the Ampera's wheels at all times and speeds, and for the first 40 miles of the trip power will be supplied by electricity stored in a cutting-edge, 16kWh lithium-ion battery, meaning the Ampera will emit zero tailpipe emissions. When the battery's energy is depleted to a minimum state, a small petrol/E85-fuelled engine generator seamlessly provides electricity to power the electric drive unit, boosting range by a further 310 miles.
Once at Ellesmere Port, the Ampera, which is built on the new Astra platform, will complete its journey at the end of the new Astra's production line, welcomed by plant director, Tony Francavilla.
Photography and video from the Ampera's road trip will be available from media.vauxhall.co.uk late on Tuesday afternoon. You can also follow the Ampera on its groundbreaking journey via facebook.com/vauxhallampera.
Estimated itinerary for drive between Luton and Ellesmere Port:
0950 Depart Luton – Vauxhall Heritage Centre
1010 Driver swap Toddington, M1
1100 Driver swap Watford Gap, M1
12:00 -1300 Vauxhall -Lookers Star City Birmingham
13:50 Driver swap Keele, M6
14:40 Driver swap Cheshire Oaks Shopping Centre
15:00 Arrival at Vauxhall Manufacturing - Ellesmere Port