Opel Ampera uses GM Voltec power train

Opel unveils the Ampera, a series hybrid car using a GM power train, at the 2009 Geneva auto show.

Opel Ampera
This is the Opel Ampera. CNET
Chevy Volt
And this is the Chevy Volt.


The third car with GM's Voltec series hybrid power train was announced at the Geneva auto show, the Opel Ampera. The two cars preceding it were the Chevrolet Volt and the Cadillac Converj . The Opel Ampera shares a platform with the Volt, and the cars are nearly identical. Where the Volt has horizontal slits at the front corners for headlights, the Ampera has big gouges going down from those headlight slits to the fog lamps, but the roofline is basically the same. The Opel badge, looking kind of like a lightning bolt, is probably more representative of the electric power train than the Chevrolet bow tie.

Ampera chassis
Opel shows off the Voltec power train. CNET

To illustrate how the Voltec power train works, Opel has an open chassis on the floor, with cutaways showing the lithium ion battery running down the center of the car, and the electric motor and gas engine in the front of the car. The Ampera is intended to do the majority of its driving, such as grocery runs and commutes, under electric power alone, while longer drives will cause the gas engine to kick in and send electric to the motor. Like the Volt, the Ampera will go for about 40 miles under electric power.

See more coverage of the 2009 Geneva auto show.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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