Automobiles

Vauxhall Ampera attempts UK electric car distance record

Vauxhall is preparing to break the record for the longest single journey by an electric vehicle on UK roads. On June 22nd, it'll send a Vauxhall Ampera from its Luton headquarters to its car plant in Ellesmere Port over 170 miles away

Vauxhall is gearing up to break the record for the longest single journey by an electric vehicle on British roads. On June 22nd, it'll send a prototype Vauxhall Ampera from its Luton headquarters to its passenger car plant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire -- a journey of over 170 miles.

It all sounds pretty impressive, but you might want to keep your champagne on ice for the moment because the Ampera isn't strictly an electric car -- it's a range-extended electric vehicle, or E-REV. Its wheels are driven by an electric motor at all times, but that motor draws its power from a battery that's recharged by a petrol engine. It's ingenious, but trying to break an 'electric car' record with a car that uses fossil fuels is a bit like breaking the 100-metre sprint record while using steroids.

Interestingly, that 170-mile journey isn't anywhere near the 241 miles achieved by the Tesla Roadster -- a proper electric car -- during the Monte Carlo e-rally. In fact, it's nowhere near the Ampera's claimed 350-mile maximum range, which leads us to believe Vauxhall is either short-changing us, or it's not yet 100 per cent confident the car can achieve its theoretical maximum range in the real world.

If you want to follow the car on it's journey, you'll find it leaving the Vauxhall Heritage Centre in Luton at 0950, before it heads up the M1 and M6, arriving at Vauxhall Manaufacturing in Ellesmere Port at 1500. Alternatively, you can keep up with the attempt by visiting facebook.com/vauxhallampera.

In the meantime, head over to our Car Tech video pages to see an exclusive Ampera interview with Vauxhall's head honchos explaining the Ampera concept in more detail.