The Vauxhall Ampera Experienced By A Doubter CleanTechnica

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VAUXHALL Ampera Electric Cars

The Vauxhall Ampera Experienced By A

The Vauxhall Ampera is a special Or so we’re supposed to believe! one step closer to the clean future that awaits us

I have not exactly been away by the electric vehicle we’ve seen in the past, so I skepticism is an acceptable default

The Prius has never excited me. in any case, is the relatively energy model really worth that excited about? I’m not sure the green credentials are enough to warrant abandoning cars.

On 100% electric like the Nissan Leaf or i , I d still like a bit more or a lot more fast-charging stations, going for one of them.

So, how is the Ampera, a E-REV (extended range vehicle), any different? Well, put the wheels are always turned by an motor, but there’s a 74 bhp, 1.4 petrol engine to help along if need be. In other electric will take you as far as it can on its and then a relatively efficient generator kicks in to lend a

It’s a clever idea, and the at the Geneva Motor Show thought so too, naming it the of the Year’. Clean, green with back-up. Great no range-anxiety.

But is this a car you’d seeing outside your and driving to work every Here’s what I thought I took it for a spin:


The Ampera looks like a car. Hardly a ringing but, for many, that’s In fact, it looks like a nice normal car, a curvy roofline and cool headlights (flavour of the month for ).

The solid aerodynamics are very from the front, particularly in the of the wing-mirrors. In fact, I much the Ampera from the front. The lights at the back seem to a slight impression of bulkiness.

How It All

The technology used by Vauxhall’s for the Ampera sets out to solve the problem of electric vehicles: emissions = not the best range! is indeed an age-old problem, the first electric vehicles designed over 100 years So did they crack it?

Well, for journeys of 25-50 with a fully charged you can be satisfied with the knowledge you’re running on pure The lithium-ion batteries in the Ampera 2-3 times more power the NiMH (nickel metal versions found in conventional So, there’s plenty of juice on charge, but when they totally depleted, something

The 1.4 petrol engine swings action to power an electricity which tops up the electric battery. With this you can drive on for up to 310 more miles!

So, at all the Ampera’s wheels are turned by power, which is a significant step forward. Plus, the electro-hydraulic brake system braking energy into which is constantly fed back the motor. This switches to braking when the battery is charged.

Driving The Ampera

I’m you can imagine how odd it is to move from to 60mph in 9 seconds, with no The weirdness of this was what struck me when driving the I found it very disconcerting at (not least on behalf of who didn’t hear me coming!), but soon I loved it.

Lots of people have that it’s rather flying, and I see their point. around long S-bends at speed, in absolute quiet, is a fun experience. The Ampera features ride bushings on both which helps to preserve the of a smooth, effortless ride on less than perfect

The all-round performance is, unsurprisingly, similar to that of the Astra. The build and rack-mounted power combines with McPherson front suspension, to produce and responsive handling.

Practicality Is A ‘Real’ Car?

So, the Ampera zero CO2 emissions on the electric plus decent drive But what would the reality be of one of these cars? For many the petrol equivalent, the Astra, is a practical and reliable family

Could the Ampera fill its

VAUXHALL Ampera Electric Cars

Well, for starters, there’s the that it only has 2 backseats. For families that ends the right there. But Vauxhall to sacrifice a third back by positioning the battery compartment it would have been, in to preserve the maximum possible space.

That was probably quite a move, as, together with the of range-anxiety, it makes the Ampera a car can deal with family and holidays (for families of 3 or 4 at

The driving area is not difficult to out. There are 2 colour LCD on the dash and at the top of the centre console. The screen displays how many you have left on battery and the miles remaining with the generator.

The centre screen you control of the entertainment system, and so on.

I was pleased to discover that are 2 horns available to the driver. The is the usual full volume whilst the second is gentler ‘toot’, for alerting pedestrians who be oblivious to your silent

Filling up the Ampera with for its petrol generator is done in the way, but what about the battery? Well, on the other of the car to the filler cap is the connection point for the cord. Simply push it in, the button and attach the plug to any 240V power supply.

It really is wonderfully simple to your car using an ordinary socket, as you would a camera or It takes about 6 hours to full charge, so if this your main car it would be a case of plugging it in every or so. The estimated cost per charge is wait for it, £1!

Safety Points

An car obviously presents a few unique challenges. But, according to there are about 500 tests running to check the battery is in condition and at the right temperature. As a there’s actually far less of the Ampera catching fire a conventional petrol car.

80% of the body is comprised of high-strength and there are frontal, side, and curtain airbags. A handy system makes it really to attach a child’s seat. The safety record of the Ampera it the maximum 5-star EURO rating.

I think there’s no doubt the is a big step forward for electric It’s more than a token for short trips to the With a spacious interior, boot, and complete absence of this ticks all the boxes for a family car.

Often the groundbreaking products don’t invent something truly but make existing technology applicable to the lives of ordinary With the Ampera, I think have just opened the to realistic and practical electric

Author: Josh Austin for County Motor Works, have been new and used car in Essex since 1907. He is a enthusiast and has had the chance to put the entire Vauxhall range through its

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