Electric mobility is the best solution for reducing automobile emissions and dependency on petroleum but if electric vehicles are to have a significant benefit on the environment and society, they must be attractive to a wide variety of buyers, not just city dwellers. Now this ambitious goal has become considerably easier to reach – with the revolutionary Ampera electric car.
The majority of drivers will find an electric car, such as the Ampera, remarkably easy to accept. That is because in addition to a powerful, 16 kWh lithium-ion battery, it has a unique electric propulsion system that extends its driving range. While providing all the benefits of state-of-the-art battery electric vehicles, such as zero tailpipe emissions and spirited performance, the innovative Ampera is not compromised by the typical disadvantages, such as limited range or long hours of immobility spent recharging a large battery.
That makes the five-door, four-seat Ampera the first electric car in Europe to give owners the freedom to drive wherever, whenever they want, with no worries of being stranded with a depleted battery. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price throughout Europe for the base model starts at 42,900 euros, including national VAT. In Germany, with 19 percent VAT, the Ampera net price is 36,050 euros. Because trim levels will differ from market to market, prices in each country may differ. Customers wishing to reserve an Ampera can register and become an ‘ePioneer’, receiving exclusive news and a chance to test drive the electric car. In addition, they will be among the first to have the opportunity to own Europe’s first practical, family electric car. Sales start in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Some competitors choose to split their offers for electric cars into two portions: a base price for the car and a leasing rate for the battery pack. This does make the price appear attractive because the battery leasing rate is not highlighted. However, battery leases are paid monthly for several years, so the total cost is roughly the same as a car whose total price includes both the car and the battery. Opel’s pricing scheme eliminates confusion by listing the total cost of the car and battery. Opel is also researching customer preferences regarding financing and leasing schemes for the Ampera. The company will announce these options later.
“The Ampera defines a new class of e-mobility. No other electric vehicle provides the freedom of individual transportation as the Opel Ampera,” said Alain Visser, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales at Opel. “We have compromised on nothing. The Ampera is a beautiful car that is as fun to drive as it is packed with premium content.”
Reliable battery not disturbed by inclement weather
The Ampera is an electric vehicle that can operate in a wide range of weather climates. It is powered by electricity at all times and speeds. For the first 40 – 80 km, power is supplied by the electricity stored in the 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery. While driving on electricity delivered by the battery, the Ampera drives free of gas- and tailpipe-emissions.
Independent research found that about 80 percent of Europeans drive less than 60 kilometers per day, so the Ampera would meet their requirements. When the Ampera’s battery runs low, the battery can be recharged in about three hours at 230v by plugging the vehicle’s on-board charge system into a standard outlet. Because the battery can be re-charged quickly, most Amperas are likely to be driven in battery mode nearly all the time.
If a longer trip is required, the gasoline-fueled engine/generator can seamlessly extend the total driving range to more than 500 kilometers on a full tank. This range-extending technology means the Ampera is suitable for worry-free daily use by the whole family.
If electric vehicles are to have a significant benefit on the environment, they must be sold in high volume. Electric cars like the Ampera – with extended range capability – are the quickest way to reach this goal because they require few adjustments in lifestyle.