Vauxhall Ampera up for European Car of the Year award

The Ampera has gained a reputation and a place in the last seven for its environmental qualities (displayed in the recent Eco rally), according to the judges of the prestigious award.

It will be facing stiff competition from the likes of the Range Rover Evoque and Fiat Panda in the final vote, which will be decided by some of the top motoring journalists in Europe.

However, it’s not like the Ampera has got less of a chance of winning because it isn’t a luxury SUV or a renowned family car. In fact last year the all-electric Nissan Leaf won car of the year as the first electric vehicle to take the top honour.

In terms of competitive edge the Ampera has a lot going for it. Starting with its hybrid-like engine setup, the 1.4-litre petrol is accompanied by an electric motor which allows the Ampera to run for 50 miles before using any fuel at all. When the petrol finally does kick in it then starts to charge the electric battery again.

This engine returns a massive 175mpg and emits just 40g/km. This means that the Ampera can travel up to 310 miles before it needs to be recharged or refuelled.

With these impressive figures the Vauxhall Ampera is exempt from the zero congestion charge, exempt from road tax and qualifies for the £5,000 Plug-in car grant.

Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall Chairman and Managing Director said: “We are extremely proud of the Ampera which truly is a revolutionary electric vehicle already having won some 25 awards throughout Europe.”

The winner of the Car of the Year award will be announced at the Geneva motor show on March 5, 2012.