After reports to the contrary – Ampera-e could make it to UK 0
VW and Tesla may have taken all the fanfare and plaudits with their respective new electric car concepts, but the truth is – General Motors will be the first company to produce an affordable, long range electric car. At the recent Paris Motor Show – held last week – the Opel Ampera-e (the Chevy Bolt in the USA) was shown off with a claimed range projected at 310 miles in the EU cycle, and “about” 240 miles in a real world environment.
“This car could be groundbreaking,” said Opel and Vauxhall chief Karl-Thomas Neumann at the Paris event. “The range is clearly ahead of rivals. It’s fun to drive. It’s designed around the batteries as a true electric winner has to be, not an adapted Astra, say.” The car should be capable of 0-60mph in seven seconds, powered by a 200bhp motor.
As yet, the car is only planned as a left wheel drive, so there are no concrete plans to bring it to the UK, however the stance has apparently shifted from the “definitely not” of a few weeks back.
The UK, with Vauxhall, is GM’s largest market in Europe. In Britain, far more electric cars were sold than Germany but the reason for the reluctance to adapt it to our roads comes from the fact that the car was originally designed by GM especially for the roads in the US. At present GM expects to sell all it can build as LHD. To move the steering wheel to the other side would cost a significant amount and the Ampera-E was initially conceived at a time when GM was especially short of cash.
When pressed on the subject of a right hand drive version, Neumann was cautious, saying there was no definite decision as yet, ““But it’s not off the table. I personally want it and think we need it.” He thinks there will be a demand. “Eventually we will have it in the UK.” But that might mean the next generation.
“We need to have an electric vehicle in the UK and we will do something. We will have other EV models. There will be another global EV architecture,” said Neumann.