We’ve been suspecting that Opel would get its own version of the Chevrolet Volt ever since we first knew General Motors was adapting the car for production. It only makes sense that GM would spread the large development expenses to a continent where fuel costs more and is more eco-conscious than the U.S. Now we have official word that the first glimpse of Opel’s Volt, now called the Ampera, will be shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

From the supplied teaser image, the front has some obvious linage to the Flextreme concept as well as a little bit of the Insignia. The slice of the side profile that’s exposed also shows the car’s Volt roots. GM spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel with the Volt’s body, so it doesn’t need to start from scratch with the Opel version.

Just like the Volt, the Ampera will be a four-seat, five-door hatchback. It uses the same electric propulsion system, now called Voltec. The Ampera will be an electric-only car for journeys up to 60 km (about 40 miles), after that a an internal combustion engine will supplement the car to extend the range.

What still remains a little bit of a mystery until Geneva will be what kind of internal combustion engine will the Opel use. Although the Volt will use a gasoline engine, GM Europe has a wide range of diesels that may be attractive to eco-minded buyers. Also there has not been any recharge times given for the Ampera’s lithium-ion battery pack. Because most of Europe uses 230v outlets (compared to standard 110v units in the U.S.,) we suspect the charge time should be close to three hours.

Press release after the jump.

Press release

Opel has announced Ampera as the name of its revolutionary extended-range electric car. The five-door, four-seat Opel Ampera will be revealed at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show (March 5-15).

“With the Ampera, Opel will be the first European automobile manufacturer to provide customers several hundred kilometers of non-stop electric driving,” said Alain Visser, GM Europe Chief Marketing Officer.

GM’s ground-breaking electric propulsion technology, called Voltec, operates differently from other advanced propulsion systems. For short trips up to 60 km, the Ampera will run only on lithium-ion battery power charged via a standard 230v outlet. For longer distances, the car will continue to drive on electricity that is generated by a small internal combustion engine.

The Ampera will be well-suited to the daily driving schedule of most European customers. For example, approximately 80 percent of German drivers travel less than 50 km daily.

Additional information on the Opel Ampera will be released March 3 at the Geneva Motor Show.

What do you think?
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  (325) posted on 03.11.2010

Great. Now they’ve gotta start selling ’em - as Volts in North America, Opel Amperas in continental Europe and Vauxhall Amperas in the U.K.

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