The new Opel Ampera-e doesn’t hold many secrets, as we already know that it’s based on the Chevrolet Bolt and the German brand teased it with two official shots in February, but GM’s subsidiary isn’t quite done tweaking it for the Euro market.
Hence the mild, but realistically speaking, unnecessary camouflage on this prototype that our spy shooters nabbed testing in Germany. The only exterior differences you’ll find between the North American Chevy Bolt and the Opel Ampera-e beyond from the badges are the European-style darker turning signals (not used on this tester).
Elsewhere, with the possible exceptions of the market specific chassis tune and equipment levels, the two models will be identical.
After deciding to skip on the second-gen Chevrolet Volt, as the original model that was sold in Europe as the Opel and Vauxhall Ampera proved to be a commercial flop selling a little over 3,000 units in 2013 dropping to under 500 in the first half of 2014, the new Ampera-e will be the German brand’s sole electric car offering (though technically, the Ampera was a range-extended EV).
The new supermini-sized Ampera-e should retain the Bolt’s electric powertrain setup producing 200hp (203PS) and 360Nm (266lb-ft) of torque, good enough for a 0-100km/h (62mph) in around 7 seconds and a top speed of 145km/h (91mph), while returning a driving range of more than 322km (200miles) on a single 9-hour charge.
While the pure-electric Ampera-e is a different car than the old Ampera, they do have one thing in common and that’s their uncomfortably high price, as in the US, the Bolt starts from $37,500 (€33,700) before taking into account a $7,500 government tax break. Leaving aside the fact that it’s priced a bit too close to the less capable (182km / 114 mile range), but let’s face it, more ‘prestigious’ (2017) BMW i3 that starts from $44,595, the real issue here is that it will be a very tough sale against similarly sized or even larger regular and hybrid cars costing much less – if, of course, Opel follows a similar pricing strategy.
You may have noticed that we didn’t mention Vauxhall, and that’s because we still don’t know if GM plans to sell a right-hand drive version of the Ampera-e, nor if it will be produced alongside the Bolt in Michigan, USA, or in Europe.
Opel has said that the new Ampera-e will launch next year.
Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoops