Vauxhall Ampera expected to boost eco popularity

Although 2011 saw a massive increase of 557 per cent in electric vehicle (EV) sales, there were only around 1,000 electric vehicles sold in the UK.

As a result the government only handed out half of its allocated budget for the £5,000 government grant, a grant which is only offered to electric vehicles with CO2 emissions below 75g/km.

However, in the first quarter of 2012 there were 278 EVs sold, which is up from 218 year on year.

Marc Rinkel, senior analyst at analysts IHS Automotive, described the launch of the Vauxhall Ampera as a ‘stepping stone to broaden the electric car offering’, which in turn should ultimately bump up the sales of alternative fuelled vehicles (AFV) in the 2012 market with its new appeal.

At the forefront of the Ampera’s appeal is its extended range electric (E-REV) powertrain, which matches a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric battery. The battery charges just like an electric vehicle, but after it runs out, the petrol engine kicks in and recharges it.

This powertrain gives the Ampera a range of 50 miles on pure electric power alone and a further 310 miles when the petrol engine kicks in, which sets it apart from electric vehicles with a range of around 100 miles.

As well as offering this convenient range, the Ampera emits just 27g/km and returns mileage of up to 230mpg. These green credentials helped it come top of the table of lowest emitting C02 cars of 2011.

Vauxhall expects that it will have sold around 5,000 Amperas by the end of 2012, with a figure of 10,000 units across Europe described as easily in reach b y a Vauxhall spokeswoman.

The Vauxhall Ampera is now on sale and is available from Perry’s dealerships such as Perrys Vauxhall of Canterbury.

The Vauxhall Ampera starts from £27,000 (after £5,000 government grant).