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.