Will the Ampera blow the Leaf away?

Nissan will face some stern competition from Vauxhall with the forthcoming Ampera extended range hybrid.

The Ampera can travel distances up to 350 miles on one charge/refuel and could be the latest low-CO2 car to be produced in the UK as Vauxhall considers building the supermini at the Ellesmere Port plant alongside the Astra.

Despite the Leaf being due here first, the all-electric technology doesn’t have the range of the Vauxhall Ampera’s hybrid powertrain. The Ampera was tested successfully recently when it drove to the Geneva show from the Vauxhall headquarters in Germany, and the popularity of the much loved Vauxhall Astra and Corsa cars may give it a head start over the Leaf in the UK market.

The Nissan Leaf offers zero-emission driving for a range of 100 miles and the lithium-ion battery can be charged to 80 per cent in 30 minutes, however, a full charge will take up to six hours.

Work also will begin on a lithium-ion plant with a production capacity of 60,000 units in April as part of a £420 million zero emissions policy from Nissan.

With the Government promise of investment in electric car infrastructure, the Nissan Leaf – despite the unimaginative name – will hope it can change the face of the low-CO2 market in the UK.

However, our money is on the Ampera, simply because it has range, power and practicality benefits over the Leaf.

Plus, it may even be British-built because General Motors is considering producing the Ampera at the Ellesmere Port plant alongside the popular Vauxhall Astra.