Vauxhall Ampera named European Car of the Year 2012

The prestigious award is seen as the most important in Europe and is judged by a panel of 59 automotive journalists across 23 different countries.

They placed the five-door Vauxhall Ampera hatchback as the number one car in Europe this year, weeks before the first models arrive at UK Vauxhall dealerships.

It is only the second car using electric power to win the award and it was the clever engine technology which meant the Ampera beat more traditionally-powered cars to take the top title.

“We are extremely pleased that our revolutionary electric vehicle has emerged as the winner in such a tough field of competitors. And we are very proud of this accolade,” says the Opel/Vauxhall CEO, Karl-Friedrich Stracke. “This encourages us further to continue our leadership role in the area of e-mobility.”

The Vauxhall Ampera was chosen because, despite its electric powertrain, it also boasts a small petrol engine capable of recharging the battery on the move and extending the range to 350 miles.

This is over three times longer than most electric cars and even with the petrol engine running the Ampera delivers just 40g/km of CO2 emissions and well over 100mpg of fuel consumption.

The Vauxhall Ampera is a four-seat hatchback sold in a choice of three different trim levels. The Ampera is available to order now and comes with a £5,000 discount as part of the government’s plug-in car grant.

This means entry-level Vauxhall Ampera prices start from £29,000 in the UK. The higher-spec models cost £34,000 and come with a host of equipment and premium materials ranging from a top-of-the-range sound system to fully leather interiors.

The Vauxhall Ampera is available to order now. The first deliveries will take place in May.