Vauxhall Ampera in record-breaking UK drive

The manufacturer’s new extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV) will set off from Luton and drive to the home of the Vauxhall Astra in Ellesmere Port, one of the contenders to build the Ampera when it goes into production.

The Ampera shares a platform with the new Vauxhall Astra and will arrive at the end of its siblings’ production line to be greeted by the plant director, Tony Francavilla.

A prototype of the Ampera E-REV will be driven by a selection of drivers in a relay to test the Ampera in real world conditions.

An Ampera E-REV has already undertaken a much longer journey when it travelled from Vauxhall headquarters in Germany to Geneva for the 2010 Motor Show – a distance of over 300 miles.

The first of Vauxhall’s extended electric vehicles, the Ampera has a total range of 350 miles, the first 40 of which can be driven using 100 per cent electric power. After the initial 40 miles, a small petrol engine generator powers the 16kWh lithium-ion battery for a further 310 miles.

The groundbreaking UK journey will travel the M1 and M6 motorways and call in at the Vauxhall Brand Centre at Star City Birmingham on Tuesday June 22.

Whereas Vauxhall’s CEO Nick Reilly drove the Ampera from Germany to Switzerland, managing director Duncan Aldred will drive the first leg of the journey this time, starting at Vauxhall’s UK home in Luton.

He 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."

The Vauxhall Ampera will go into production in 2012 and will be available to buy later that year. The Ampera is expected to be the first in a range of electric and hybrid vehicles from the manufacturer, which already boasts a low-CO2 ecoFLEX range using refined versions of its combustion engines.