The Ampera, which its makers say offers “all the benefits of electric driving, without any of the range anxiety”, is not a hybrid. The vehicle’s wheels are powered by electricity at all times by a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack feeding an advanced 150PS electric drive unit.
But while the battery-powered electric drive delivers only 23-50 miles of range with zero emissions, what sets the Ampera apart, says Vauxhall, is the addition of a small 1.4-litre petrol-fuelled engine/generator.
It is this system – or ‘range extender’ as the automaker calls it – which generating enough electricity to power the electric motor and operates seamlessly as part of the powertrain.
The combination gives the Ampera a total driving range of up to 360 miles and, according to official European Test Cycle figures, 235 mpg with emissions of just 27 g CO2/km.
For UK drivers, the Ampera qualifies for the government’s Plug-In Car Grant, which takes the starting price to £29,995, zero road tax, zero Congestion Charge in London and a 50% reduction in company car tax. And according to Vauxhall, it costs just £1 to fully charge it, depending on the electricity tariff used.
The launch of the vehicle is hoped to boost the uptake of low-emission cars in the UK, which reached only just over 1000 last year.
All low- and zero-emission carmakers are predicting fast-growing sales this year as more vehicles launch and initial figures from Nissan show sales of over 1000 for its all-electric LEAF in Norway alone over the last six months.
For further information:
Norway laps up 1000 Nissan LEAFs in six months (30-Apr)
British Gas and Vauxhall join forces to offer fast charging for Ampera (27-Mar)
Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt win ‘Car of the Year’ (7-Mar)
UK take-up of electric cars reaches just over 1000 in 2011 (9-Jan)
Article source: http://www.energyefficiencynews.com/i/5068/