Think James Garner in "Grand Prix," only quieter.

General Motors' Opel division is entering six Ampera extended-range plug-in vehicles in an alternative energy version of the Rally Monte Carlo this week, as the company looks to boost exposure for the European version of the Chevrolet Volt.

The six Amperas are starting the rally on Thursday and are scheduled to finish in Monaco, Monte Carlo, on Sunday. The 150 vehicles in the alt-fuel rally – now in its sixth year – are required to emit no more than 115 grams per kilometer of CO2. Like the Volt, Opel says its 150-horsepower Ampera can go about 60 kilometers (37 miles) on a fully-charged battery before the gas-powered generator kicks in.

Plug In Cars reported that Opel has received more than 7,000 pre-orders for the Ampera, which recently won the 2012 European Car of the Year award, and is planning on meeting its 2012 sales target of 10,000 units. Last fall, Opel increased the Ampera's 2012 sales goal to at least 10,000, up from 8,000 units.

The Tesla Roadster won the last two alt-energy versions of the Rally Monte Carlo.
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Opel Ampera Debuts At Rally Monte Carlo
"Car of the Year 2012" takes part in Monte Carlo Alternative Energy Rally

Rüsselsheim. For the first time in its history, Opel is providing its award-winning electric cars for the prestigious international Rally Monte Carlo. Six electric Opel Ampera will make their debut in the "Alternative Energy" version of the rally which commences in Annecy-le-Vieux, Clermont-Ferrand and Lugano on March 22 and finishes three days later in the capital of Monaco, Monte Carlo. In order to take part, competing vehicles must have a maximum of 115g/km CO2 emissions. The main aim of the rally is to cover a certain distance, maintain a constant speed and use as little energy as possible. Some 150 vehicles are expected to take part this year.

By entering its electric vehicles with range extending capabilities in the international rally, Opel is once again showing that it is a global leader in the field of e-mobility. "Spectators will have the chance to see our electric cars in action under the challenging conditions the rally has to offer." says Enno Fuchs, Opel's Director E-Mobility.

The Opel 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 40 and 80 kilometers can be covered in the purely battery-operated mode, completely free of emissions. The wheels of the Ampera are always powered electrically. In extended-range mode, which activates whenever the battery has reached its minimum state of charge, the gasoline engine drives a generator that supplies the electric drive unit. The range extender enables an operating radius of 500 kilometers. On the road, the Ampera's Voltec electric propulsion system provides instant torque of 370 Nm enabling zero to 100 km/h acceleration in around nine seconds and a top speed of 161 km/h.

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