Vauxhall Ampera’s clever European twist

Vauxhall engineers are currently working feverishly on the new Vauxhall Ampera, which will arrive in the UK in 2012.

No doubt you’ve heard of the many benefits of the extended-range electric vehicle after a deluge of publicity surrounding the new model.

It will have a range of 360 miles – 40 of which will be all-electric driving – and will offer low CO2 emissions and even lower fuel economy figures.

However, the latest feature, which will be exclusive to Europe, is an even cleverer one.

All-electric driving is more use in the cities, where speeds are lower and there is more stopping and starting in traffic.

Aware that people may be using the Ampera to drive between cities, the engineers at Vauxhall are designing a system whereby some electric energy is saved.

This means the car can operate on all-electric mode in a city, the petrol engine can charge the lithium-ion battery on motorway stretches and the car can then switch back to electric mode for the final city leg of the journey.

With the morning commute in mind, this is a clever and innovative use of the already groundbreaking technology.

But that’s not all, because engineer Lars Peter Thiesen said: “This is one of a number of things we are looking at to suit European drivers.”

This means the Ampera will be tailored to European needs and European roads when it finally arrives, something which is sure to fuel interest in the new green car.

However, the Vauxhall engineers are still looking at even greener technology, such as hydrogen fuel cell technology, for future cars.

A hydrogen car is expected by the manufacturer by 2015, revealed Thiesen, but only when the amount of expensive plutonium in the fuel cells is brought down to more affordable levels.

So, if you’re looking ahead to the future, look no further than Vauxhall. The GM-owned manufacturer is set to release one of the most exciting green cars ever, and there is a promise of plenty more where that came from.