Vauxhall to offer Ampera for rent

The British-based car maker has signed a deal with car rental company Europcar to deliver a selection of Ampera models to its fleet when the car goes on sale in 2012.

Branding the Ampera ‘the best long-term solution’ to meet environmental concerns, Europcar says the Ampera is ‘completely suitable for everyday use’.

This is mainly down to the setup of the Ampera, which uses electricity to drive the wheels in the same way as an electric car.

Its electric range is 50 miles, but when the charge is depleted a small petrol motor kicks in to power the lithium-ion battery and extend the range by a further 300 miles.

However, unlike a hybrid car, the petrol engine does not directly drive the wheels, hence the ‘extended range electric’ name.

Early data for the Vauxhall Ampera shows it will offer fuel economy of up to 175mpg – much more than equivalent petrol and diesel engines.

The first examples of the new Vauxhall Ampera will be available to rent in Germany as early as November 2011, but UK customers will have to wait until early 2012 before they can get behind the wheel of the car.

"The fact that Europcar is going to introduce the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera in its day-to-day business is further proof that our extended-range electric vehicle is completely suitable for everyday use – even as a fleet vehicle in the tough rental car business”, says Opel/Vauxhall Vice President Sales, Marketing and Aftersales, Alain Visser.

The Vauxhall Ampera is a small five-door hatchback with a distinctive design, particularly at the front where boomerang-shaped headlamps stand out. The front end has been replicated in other Vauxhall cars, such as the forthcoming Vauxhall Zafira Tourer people carrier.