Chevrolet's Bolt EV will travel far beyond its 200-mile range to go on sale in Europe as the Opel Ampera-e.
Chris PaukertFormer executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015.
Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chevrolet's forthcoming Bolt will look to electrify more than just North American consumers. The plug-in five-door hatchback will also travel overseas, rebranded as the Ampera-e under General Motors' European nameplate, Opel.
If that name sounds familiar, that's because Ampera was Opel's moniker for its version of the first-generation Chevrolet Volt, the groundbreaking plug-in hybrid that proved to be a sales flop among European consumers. Electrified cars of all stripes have been a tough sell on The Continent thus far, but automakers like GM are still keen to find success with them, if only to help comply with ever-tightening emissions standards.
Details on the Ampera-e remain scant, but the model was officially announced by GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra at Thursday's CAR Symposium, an annual future mobility conference in Bochum, Germany. According to Barra, "GM and Opel have always been convinced that electric cars will play a defining role in future mobility. The game-changing technology of the Ampera-e is a significant step toward realizing that vision. Our new battery electric car is also another boost for Opel's reputation for making innovative engineering widely accessible."
2017 Opel Ampera-E is a worldly Chevy Bolt (pictures)
Like the Volt-based Ampera before it, the Ampera-e isn't expected to differ materially from its North American-market Chevy twin, with changes from the 2017 Bolt expected to be largely limited to aesthetic alterations like the unique front fascia and grille seen in these official photos. That means European consumers should be able to look forward to a 200-mile all-electric range, OnStar telematics and a relatively low price point (the Bolt is expected to start below $30,000 after federal incentives in the US).
The Bolt's -- and by extension, the Ampera-e's -- long range is expected to be its trump card as it battles compact battery-powered rivals like the Kia Soul EV, Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen e-Golf and forthcoming Tesla Model 3.
Pricing information is expected closer to the car's on-sale date.