Next Vauxhall Ampera to get shorter range

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10 Jan, 2013 11:50am Jack Rix

The next-generation Ampera could feature a smaller battery and shorter range in a bid to drive down the price

Following stuttering sales in Europe, GM is planning a smaller battery pack and a shorter electric-only range for the next-generation Vauxhall Ampera.

Costing £28,995 after the Government’s £5000 EV grant, Vauxhall is currently losing money on every Ampera it sells, but will look to reverse that trend when a new model arrives in three to four-years' time.

“The Ampera has one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings of any car, but it’s simply too expensive,” Steve Girsky, Vice Chairman of GM and interim president of GM Europe, admitted. “If you want to make money it’s not about the cleverest technology, but who can deliver fuel economy at a lower cost.”

Currently the Ampera is capable of travelling up to 50 miles on battery power, which is key to its 235.4mpg fuel economy. But the battery pack alone costs more than £12,000 to produce.

“In the coming years I don’t think you will need 100km [62 miles] of electric range,” revealed Thomas Sedran, GM’s Vice President of Strategy and Operations. “Around 30 to 50km [18 to 30 miles] should be enough to get you in and out of town and after that you still have the range-extender engine to help.”

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Ampera is a good idea. But its not turning profit for Vauxhall. By dropping Ampera's electric only range from 50 to 18 miles, Vauxhall will be following the lead of Toyota Prius Plug-in that offers 15 miles electric only range.

If I win the Lottery. Even then with a big "maybe".

25 mile range a day would more than adequate to get me back and to and from work with a little bit running around at home most of the time. What an incredible piece of technology.

If GM can get the price down, the Ampera/Volt will start to appeal more to the masses, nothing wrong with keeping the longer extended range model on for those that might need it.

Would instantly buy one of those fabulous Via Motor Chevy E-REV trucks if only GM would sell them here, and with RHD of corse. So would a lot of companies rich with cash sitting on the sidelines doing nothing. 120 MPG and 40 mile on electric from the huge great Silverado pick up, Big Chevy van and Suburban SUV how do they do that?

Did about 14,000 miles in the last 12 months in a similar-sized petrol automatic - total cost of fuel = £1600. Reckon they need to reduce the price by at least £10,000 to be in with a chance

It will make the range reduction problems in cold weather even worse

The current Ampera and Volt claim 25-50 miles of range, but what you get is very sensitive to the outside temperature. During the summer I was getting close to 50 miles range no problem. Even last week with temperatures in Oxfordshire about 8-10C I was getting 35 miles range. Yesterday with snow and around 1C I got 27 miles and got home with less than 1 mile remaining.
If they half the range to give 12-25 then I'd be burning petrol every day in winter and borderline in the summer. If I had to do that I'd probably just switch back to an ICE car: the point of the Ampera/Volt is to be an electric car most of the time, not a hybrid like the Prius.

Sorry if this is a double post, but my first entry disappeared. The battery pack with TMS doesn't cost 12,000 quid, never did. Before the Volt/Ampera was built back in 2008 the first "mule's" packs cost $12,500US and the prices have dropped since then. You can buy a replacement battery pack now for $3,000US if you manage to destroy one outside of warranty, which would be difficult to do, but possible, I guess. I can send you the link to the order page for the replacement pack but I don't want to get moderated out for a live link.