Opel moves mobility forward and makes good on its promise: the revolutionary, sleek and practical Opel Ampera is Europe’s first electric vehicle to enable ‘go anywhere at any time’ mobility.
Driving a green car could help save precious energy, reduce pollution and fight climate change, but since when has it been considered fun?
Upon pushing the blue start button the Ampera emits a swooshing sound which makes me think of a spaceship. I half expect the wheels to fold up and leave me hovering above the ground. A huge grin spreads across my face. Maybe fun is not too distant a prospect after all. Until recently, aesthetics and emotional thrills were not exactly e-mobility’s greatest assets.
Opel thought about a very specific target audience and I guess I am a part of it. The Ampera is for the townsfolk of the iPhone generation who don’t drive more than approximately 50 kilometers a day and are comfortable with the latest touchscreen technology.
But it’s time to get going. I smoothly roll along the street and notice that it’s really quiet. As in totally silent. Truly amazing, that the electric engine of a car of 4.5 meters in length with a weight of 1.7 tons does not make any sound.
I enjoy this feeling for 50 kilometers until – just as predicted – the battery dies away. In a purely electric car I would now need to find an electrical socket quickly and better have some spare hours to refuel the engine (4 to 6h)!. Too bad that I’m in the middle of an open country road.
Two words: range extender. A little less silent than before, but still barely noticeable, the Ampera’s supporting four-cylinder conventional fuel engine jumps in. But wait – wasn’t I supposed to drive eco-friendly? Technically, I still am. The engine functions as a generator to repower the battery, not the tires or the drive, which basically means, that the car is still running on electricity. Except it doesn’t come from the socket but is generated by an engine! And charging the battery is easy. You just need an access to electricity…
Let’s see how the range extender likes acceleration. I turn to the highway and easily reach high speed. Instant torque of 370 Nm enables zero to 100 km/h acceleration in around 9 seconds and a top speed of 161 km/h.
It’s a matter of energy efficiency, according to Opel, and the Ampera is supposed to be a green car after all. The faster you drive, the more fuel you burn and you don’t need to rush to enjoy the landscape.
Just as revolutionary as its unique Voltec electric propulsion system, is the Ampera’s eye-catching design. Sleek, aerodynamically efficient styling encapsulates a cabin that replaces conventional dials and gauges with high-definition color displays and touch-screen functionality.
The cabin offers all the space, comfort, and convenience features you would expect from a premium compact car: five-door flexibility, comfortable accommodation for four adults, and a seat up/seat down load carrying capacity of 310/1005 liters. The battery pack is located low down in the center of the car, which enables the use of flat-folding rear seat backs.
The Ampera has won more than 50 national and international prizes including the “Car of the Year 2012” award and the “World Green Car of the Year 2011”. There have also been accolades for safety like the maximum 5-star Euro NCAP award.
The Ampera goes on sale throughout Europe at a recommended retail price of 42,900 euros
When asked for my favourite car, I usually say a sports car, or a big SUV…. But after a day driving the Ampera, I could change my mind. Because I do have fun with this fantastic electric car!