The electric vehicle market segment is getting hotter by the day with each automaker trying to outshine the others by offering affordable models with long ranges. Recently at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas Nevada last month, General Motors unveiled the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, their new PHEV for the American market.
In Europe GM will rebrand the car and sell it as the 2017 Opel Ampera-e. The Opel Ampera-e will be identical to the Chevrolet Bolt except for some minor visual differences. The automaker hopes the new PHEV will succeed where the first-gen Opel Ampera plug-in hybrid which was identical to the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid failed. Opel Ampera only sold 9,629 units in Europe compared to 51,662 units Chevrolet sold in the US in 2013.
The automaker goes on to argue that the Ampera-e is part of their ongoing offensive which will see them unveil 29 new vehicles by 2020.
2017 Opel Ampera-e Exterior
A quick look at the Ampera-e shows it is a replica of the Chevrolet Bolt. The only differences between the two is the Ampera-e’s redesigned front bumper, its new grille which features two thin chrome strips and Opel emblems on the front and rear fascias.
Everything else looks like the Chevrolet Bolt including the roof which appears as if it is floating, a huge front-quarter window and the BMW-inspired pinch of sheetmetal which goes through the door handles all the way to the taillights.
2017 Opel Ampera-e Interior
Compared to the Ampera, the Ampera-e cabin is more stylish and features upgraded technologies. The cabin is also almost identical to that of the Chevrolet Bolt. The vehicle will accommodate five passengers and still leave a cargo space comparable to cars in the compact segment. This is courtesy to its battery which is mounted under the floor.
It also features a 10.2-inch MyLink color touch-screen with Smartphone integration and OnStar service assistant. The vehicle also features a wide-angle rear-facing camera and a Surround Vision system similar to one’s used in large SUVs. The system uses different cameras to provide a bird’s eye view of the car.
The vehicle also features a navigation system that can also show nearby charging stations and route directions to help maximize its range.
Drive-train and performance
Though many people consider the Opel Ampera a commercial flop, GM insists that the original Ampera has provided them with immense electrification expertise which serves as the benchmark for upcoming electric models including the Ampera-e.
Unlike the Opel Ampera which was powered with a PHEV power-train, the new Ampera-e features an all-electric drive-train. The model features the same setup as the Chevrolet Bolt. The electric motor produces 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. The motor is backed by a 60 kWh lithium-ion battery pack which is mounted underneath its floor to maximize cabin space.
The automaker remained mum about its range but we expect a 200 miles range on a full charge just like the Chevrolet. The Ampera-e will run from 0-60 mph in under 7 seconds and will have a top speed of 91 mph.
The batteries will take 9 hours to recharge using a 240-volt outlet while an optional DC fast charger will recharge the battery to 80% in less than a hour.
Price and release date
GM has not announced an official price but we believe the model will have an identical price as the Chevy Bolt which has a starting price of $ 37,500 or €33,275 equivalent in Europe. Government rebates will cut down that price further making it a very affordable PHEV.
When it comes out, the 2017 Opel Ampera-e will rival the likes of BMW i3, Audi A3 e-tron, Ford Focus Electric, Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV, Volkswagen e-Golf and Tesla Model 3.
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