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Vauxhall Ampera: Amp up the Volt

The Vauxhall Ampera is the UK version of the Opel Ampera, the European version of the Chevrolet Volt. It'll hit 100mph and do 0-60 in less than 10 seconds, and with no carbon emissions

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Richard Trenholm
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The European version of the Chevrolet Volt electric car has been unveiled at the Geneva International Car Show. The Vauxhall Ampera is a five-door, four-seat model that will be marketed as the Opel Ampera on the continent, and promises the sort of grunt you wouldn't expect from an electric car.

The Ampera's wheels are turned electrically at all times and speeds, yet it still offers 'lively acceleration', reaching 60mph in around 9 seconds and topping out at 100mph. With instantaneous torque of 370Nm -- and 150bhp -- the experience is described as 'like being in a sports car, but in almost complete silence'. Which sounds absolutely terrifying to us.

Where does that power come from? For the first 37 miles or so the car is powered by a 16kWh lithium-ion battery, which emits a grand total of zero CO2. None, nada, zip (apart from, you know, what the power station belched out charging it up). After that, power comes from a gas-powered generator for recharging the battery once depleted, that can extend the range to more than 300 miles.

Keep an eye on Crave for Car Tech's chief gearhead Rory Reid meeting with the Ampera in Geneva. Click through to see more of the car in all its swooshy Photoshopped glory and find out more about the green power putting the oomph into Ampera.

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The car can be plugged into any household 240V outlet for charging.
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GM Europe is also looking at a recharging infrastructure for plug-in electric cars along with energy suppliers such as Iberdrola of Spain, which owns Scottish Power.
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The Ampera's manufacturers estimate that this will drive down the price of running the car to around one-fifth of the current cost per mile of an equivalent petrol-engined model.
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Here's the Ampera's gorgeous black and red interior.
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The European Opel version will be around in late 2011, with the right-hand drive UK Vauxhall Ampera plugging in in 2012.

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