Hot Ampera on way

28 May, 2010 4:18pm Conor Mills

Spy-shots reveal hotter hybrid already being tested

Sparks are flying at Vauxhall, and this is the reason why. Our sources tell us that the Ampera in these pictures is running on a new, higher-powered version of the company’s innovative plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

This comprises a bigger, more powerful battery and a larger petrol engine, and will feature in the flagship model when the range launches in 2012. The car – seen here in Opel guise – will get a subtle sports makeover to stand out from the standard Ampera.

The regular model uses Vauxhall owner General Motors’ Voltec Propulsion system, which mates a 148bhp electric drive unit to a 16kWh lithium-ion battery. This allows the car to travel up to 37mph on electricity alone, before a small 1.4-litre petrol engine kicks in to recharge the battery. Working together, the two power sources give a range of up to 310 miles.

The standard drivetrain offers 370Nm of torque, and takes the Ampera from 0-62mph in around nine seconds, on the way to a top speed of 100mph. The flagship promises to be even quicker.

Vauxhall claims drivers who do 37 miles a day would save 1,700 litres of fuel a year in the Ampera.

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Surely there would be spectacular improvements in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption to be had from using a small diesel engine rather than a petrol one?!

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