Opel will soon offer an electric vehicle ‘that will finally eradicate the biggest downside of an electric car for everyone – range anxiety’. While there’s some truth to back up that claim – stats have shown that 80% of car users in the world clock less than 100km per day – running out of electric charge remains a genuine fear for many, be it their smartphones or electric vehicles, the latter seemingly can only be addressed by the reassurance of a charging network.
But let’s not undermine Opel’s achievement – the all-new Ampera-e hatchback will be able to go beyond 400km on a single charge, based on the NEDC cycle. As a reference, that’s easily 25% more than its nearest competitor, the BMW i3 with its updated 33kWh battery pack, rated at 300km; and more than the latest spec Nissan Leaf at 250km and the Renault Zoe at 240km. And before you go ‘yeah, right’, bear in mind that Opel does concede that the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) measurement may not reflect real world results, but is nevertheless confident that 300km is well within reach in ‘everyday conditions’.
Central to the Ampera-e’s capability is a 60kWh battery pack that’s laid out evenly under the floor of the vehicle, it comprises 288 lithium-ion cells manufactured by LG Chem, packed into 10 modules. The Ampera-e measures close to 4.2 meters in overall length (around that of a Volkswagen Golf), has a 2600mm wheelbase, a 381-litre trunk and seats five adults; typical of what a C-segment Euro hatchback is expected to offer, so there are no compromises in terms of practicality, at least on paper.
Like most EVs, maximum power and torque is available the moment the throttle is pinned, so the Opel Ampera-e will spring from idle to 50km/h in 3.2 seconds (0-100km/h data not provided, but 80-120km/h is done in 4.5 seconds) and is able to hit a 150km/h top speed, electronically limited to maximise energy efficiency. If you need to know, the output of its electric motor is 204hp.
Even though the name is similar, the battery-only Ampera-e is a different kettle of fish from what it supposedly replaces, the Ampera plug-in range extender which has since been discontinued in Europe due to slow sales, though still available as the Chevrolet Volt in America. The Opel Ampera-e will make a world premiere later this month at the Paris Motor Show and is expected to hit showrooms during the first half of 2017. Now, anyone keen to revive the Opel brand in Malaysia?