The Vauxhall Ampera is a five-door hatchback that uses an extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV) capable of running on electric power alone for up to 50 miles.
When the charge from the battery runs low a 1.4-litre petrol engine acts as a generator to recharge the battery and power the car for a further 300 miles.
Available to order now from £32,000 (a £30,000 version will go on sale later in the year), Vauxhall says it hopes to sell up to 3,000 by the end of the year.
This will rise to 5,000 in 2013 and Vauxhall says early interest in the next generation of green cars has hit 700 enquiries so far.
The Vauxhall Ampera is only arriving on UK roads on 1 May but Vauxhall expected the European Car of the Year to sell well throughout 2012 as drivers look towards more fuel-efficient cars amid rising fuel costs.
Vauxhall says the Ampera will cost up to £4,000 less to run than an equivalent diesel model if chosen by business drivers because of the benefits in benefit-in-kind tax, first year capital allowance and road tax.
However, it has also warned drivers travelling over 25,000-30,000 miles per year may be better off with one of Vauxhall’s ecoFLEX diesel models in terms of running costs.
EcoFLEX diesel models are available on Vauxhall’s entire range including the new Vauxhall Astra, Vauxhall Corsa and Vauxhall Insignia.
The Vauxhall Ampera is available to order now in one of two specification levels. A third, entry-level model will be introduced in September 2012.
The new Vauxhall Ampera is available exclusively from 24 specialist Vauxhall dealerships in the UK.