GM has confirmed that Vauxhall will get a right-hand drive version of the Ampera, with production beginning in 2012
GM's Voltec plug-in hybrid technology continued its world tour in Geneva, where it was announced this week that the right-hand drive Vauxhall Ampera will be on sale in 2012 for the UK market. The Voltec plug-in hybrid system is already slated to power the Chevrolet Volt in the U.S., the Opel Ampera in Europe, and a Holden-badged Ampera in Australia.
GM says that the Ampera, a five-door four-seater, reveals "Vauxhall's new design language," which is shared with other GM brands like Opel and the outgoing Saturn. Badge-engineered or not, the distinctive boomerang-shaped front end styling brings hints of show vehicles like the Opel Flextreme and GTC Concept to the street, and is arguably better looking than the much more conservative Chevy Volt.
Unlike most current hybrids, the Voltec hybrid system that powers the Ampera uses electricity to drive the wheels full-time. A 16 kW/h lithium ion battery provides power, and the gasoline engine serves only as an on-board generator. This arrangement allows the Ampera to cruise completely gasoline-free for up to 40 miles at all speeds. With the engine on hand to charge the batteries, an extended range of over 300 miles is expected. When it's not on the road, the Ampera can be charged using any standard 240-volt electric outlet. GM is currently working with a number of European energy companies to determine the effect plug-in hybrids will have on the infrastructure.