Europe's Chevy Volt is the Opel Ampera

27 January 2009

Opel AmperaGeneral Motors has announced that the Euro version of the Chevrolet Volt will be badged Opel Ampera. A preview version will be displayed at the Geneva motor show in just over a month’s time.

The single teaser shot released by GM appears to be simply a Volt with a new nose, although we will have to see more of the beast to be certain.

We had wondered whether this car might be badged Electra, after GM Europe filed trademark claims on that name in both the UK and Germany last year. Trademark applications on the name “Vauxhall/Opel Lithia”, which hints at lithium-based batteries, were filed at the same time.

As far as we know GM Europe still has plans for a dedicated European eco-car, based much less heavily on the Volt, which may yet be launched. We will await further news from Geneva.

The E-Flex petrol-electric platform that underpins the Volt and Ampera is now being referred to as Voltec, by the by.

For short trips of up to 60km, Voltec-based cars rely on their lithium-ion batteries, charged from a standard domestic outlet. For longer distances, the car’s electric motor is powered using electricity generated on-board by a small conventional engine. Unlike Toyota's Prius, for example, the Ampera is never directly pushed along by its internal-combustion engine.

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