Vauxhall expects Ampera sell-out

Reilly says it "will sell every Ampera we can make. What we don’t know is the size of the market and we won’t know that for two to three years.”

The expected figure for Europe is 15,000, with many of the models coming to the UK. The US-built car could also be built in the UK at the Ellesmere Port facility, but a decision is not due until next year.

The facility would be capable of building the Ampera because the car is based on the same platform as the Astra hatchback, which is currently built at the plant.

The Vauxhall Ampera, currently on sale in the US under the Chevrolet Volt name, is capable of travelling 40 miles on purely electric power. A small petrol motor extends the battery charge to last another 310 miles when needed.

Vauxhall has also revealed the Ampera will be fitted with a driver hold function, which allows the car to use the 40 miles of electric charge when it is needed – for example in the London congestion charge area.

This feature, which is not available on the Volt, will allow drivers the chance to save the all-electric power for inner city areas where it will be most effective.

The Vauxhall Ampera will go on sale in the UK in 2012, and is currently one of only nine cars eligible for the government’s Plug-In Grant, which knocks £5,000 off the price of ‘green’ cars while funds last.

Other cars eligible for the grant include the electric Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero.