The introduction of the five-door, four-seat hatchback to the UK represents a breakthrough for electric technology because it can travel nearly three times the distance of any other electric car on sale today before refuelling.
The Vauxhall Ampera, an upmarket Vauxhall Astra-size hatchback, can travel up to 50 miles on electric power and a further 310 miles courtesy of a range-extender.
The extender comes in the shape of a 1.4-litre petrol engine capable of recharging the battery on the move and removes the need to stop at a charging station.
However, the car can also be charged at a standard electric charger if necessary for added practicality.
The result is a car that can travel short distances with zero emissions and, when the petrol engine kicks in, delivers 27g/km of CO2 (enough to qualify for free road tax) and up to 230mpg.
The Vauxhall Ampera has now arrived on UK roads and Vauxhall hopes it will encourage more people to take up the government’s electric car offer to cut £5,000 off the price of a new electric car.
The grant means the Vauxhall Ampera starts from £32,000 in the UK but a cheaper, £30,000 version will go on sale later in the year, according to Vauxhall.
Vauxhall says there has been a huge amount of interest in the Vauxhall Ampera, helped by the car being named European Car of the Year 2012 in the most prestigious awards on the continent.
The first extended-range electric car to go on sale in the UK, the Vauxhall Ampera is also the second car (after the new Vauxhall Zafira Tourer) to use Vauxhall’s new design language including the eye-catching boomerang-shaped headlamps and new front grille.
The new Vauxhall Ampera is available in Vauxhall UK showrooms now and Vauxhall Ampera test drives are available.