Editorial Feature

Vauxhall Ampera Electric Car

Vauxhall Ampera is a plug-in electric car and an extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV). It employs a state-of-the-art battery and engine technology. The Vauxhall Ampera is the most fuel-efficient car and functions as a pure battery electric vehicle until the capacity of its plug-in battery drips. An electric generator is then powered by its internal combustion engine to extend its driving range. When the engine is operated in an extended range mode, it may be mechanically linked through a clutch to improve the vehicle's energy efficiency.

Besides reducing exhaust emissions, the Vauxhall Ampera also saves driving and fuel costs. It ensures dynamic performance and acceleration as it offers maximum torque always while driving. Since the commencement of sales in 2011, over 33,000 units have been sold globally. Around 27,306 units were delivered in the US alone, which makes Vauxhall Ampera the top-selling plug-in electric car in the US.

Specifications

Pure electric cars make use of the limited energy stored in the battery as they rely completely on battery power. Similarly, hybrid cars consume energy from the conventional internal combustion engine and acquire support from an electric motor periodically. However, the battery-powered electric car, Vauxhall Ampera, overcomes the limited vehicle range of other battery electric cars with the help of E-REV technology. The car can be charged by plugging into a standard 240V outlet. The energy stored in 22PSh lithium-ion battery pack can power the electric drive unit to improve the vehicle speed and acceleration.

The Vauxhall Ampera uses an on-board range-extending engine that drives an electric generator for sustaining the battery capacity while driving for a long distance. While most of the electric vehicles employ nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, the Ampera uses lithium ion batteries that offer more power than the NiMH batteries and high energy-to-weight ratio. The Ampera is provided with an electro-hydraulic brake system that assures 100% friction braking and regenerative braking.

Summary

The Ampera can charge its battery within 3 h to drive 40 miles. However, the Ampera can go up to 310 miles using the E-REV technology. Very little energy is wasted by this vehicle as Ampera consists of fewer electric propulsion parts. The petrol engine moves at a steady rate irrespective of the speed and thus making the vehicle more efficient. This car has a smooth, noise-free and instant pick-up, though the regenerative brakes are quite difficult to get used to. The Ampera employs a screen with context-specific readouts instead of gauges.

Although the aero kit seems to be fine with boomerang light clusters, the Ampera’s front is very low which may strike every speed bump on the road. Besides providing sufficient leg space and room for luggage, the five-door saloon is a four-seater that is not ideal for a large family. In addition, the Ampera is said to compromise on cabin quality and handling methods when compared to German technology, and hence it seemingly has low running cost.

Apart from low carbon emissions, fuel savings and extended vehicle range, the Ampera does not require congestion charge, company car tax and excise duty. The Ampera certainly helps users experience smooth driving and improved performance at the same time emphasizing on sustainability.

New Vauxhall/Opel Ampera 2012 First Look - Run Time - 1:07mins

Sources

Kris Walker

Written by

Kris Walker

Kris has a BA(hons) in Media & Performance from the University of Salford. Aside from overseeing the editorial and video teams, Kris can be found in far flung corners of the world capturing the story behind the science on behalf of our clients. Outside of work, Kris is finally seeing a return on 25 years of hurt supporting Manchester City.

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