Over half of motorists prefer the Ampera to electric

Research by TheGreenCarWebsite.co.uk found 52 per cent of people would prefer a car which uses a small petrol engine to extend its range because they cost almost the same as the electric alternative.

For example, the Vauxhall Ampera, which will go on sale in the UK early in 2012, will cost £28,995 after the government’s plug-in car grant – just £2,000 more than an equivalent electric car such as the Nissan Leaf.

However, the Ampera uses a small petrol engine to charge the battery when it runs low, extending the range to 350 miles while still boasting CO2 emissions of under 50g/km and an expected fuel consumption figure well above 100mpg.

In comparison, electric cars such as the Leaf have a range of just 100 miles between charges and take six to eight hours to recharge fully.

Meanwhile, the Vauxhall Ampera can run on purely electric charge for short distances, but has the backup option of being run like a normal petrol car by being filled up at the petrol station.

Faye Sunderland, editor of thegreencarwebsite.co.uk, said: “Ultimately fully electric models will offer the lowest running costs. But nevertheless the arrival of models such as the Vauxhall Ampera, Toyota Prius Plug-in and Volvo V60 Plug-in will offer a further step into the electrification of the motor car, extending on the progress pioneered by the first generation hybrids.”

TheGreenCarWebsite.co.uk says the average electric car journey is just 25 miles and the Vauxhall Ampera can travel those distances using purely electric power as well.

However, the groundbreaking technology is also capable of extending the range, as demonstrated when a Vauxhall Ampera was driven from Vauxhall’s German headquarters to Geneva in Switzerland earlier in the year prior to the Geneva Motor Show.