Vauxhall announced the price of the hatchback today after it was confirmed it will qualify for the government’s £5,000 Plug-In Car Grant, which starts from January 2011.
The price is higher than standard petrol and diesel hatchbacks, but Vauxhall will point to the zero road tax and congestion charges as money-saving benefits.
The Ampera will also be able to run for 50 miles on battery power alone, meaning fuel economy should approach the 100mpg figure as seen on the identical Chevrolet Volt in the US.
With a range of 360 miles, the Vauxhall Ampera will be able to travel over three times further than the small number of electric cars arriving in 2011, a selling point the manufacturer is keen to emphasise.
Vauxhall has labelled the Ampera, ‘the only real-world electric car solution for the family’, and is offering customers the chance to reserve one for a £150 fully refundable reservation fee.
With no commitment to purchase, any customers reserving an Ampera will be able to access exclusive events in the lead up to the launch of the Ampera in the UK.
The Vauxhall Ampera differs from standard hybrid cars because the electric motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery. The small petrol engine does not drive the wheels under speeds of 70mph, instead it charges the battery to boost the range to 360 miles.
Based on the same platform as the Vauxhall Astra, the Ampera will be the first model from the manufacturer to feature an electric motor or hybrid powertrain.
The Ampera will be sold as the Opel Ampera in Europe and is currently on sale in the US under the Chevrolet Volt name.