After much speculation, General Motors has announced that it will be stopping production of the Vauxhall Ampera.
Officially launched in the UK in 2012, the Vauxhall Ampera looked to have a bright future. It won the European Car of the Year shortly after it’s release and was one of the first cars to combine the benefits of electric driving and petrol-power.
The plug-in hybrid (PHEV), which can still be bought on the used EV market, offers 235 MPG (equivalent) and can be driven for 52 miles on electric power alone (official figures). The PHEV offers zero-emissions when in electric mode and returns a modest 27g/km of CO2 when the petrol engine is engaged.
Despite, decent performance for a PHEV the Ampera has suffered from low-sales, which are struggling to reach the 1000 mark in 2014.
This is hard to explain completely, but must be largely down to the price. Originally priced at £28,750 (including the governments £5,000 Plug-in Car Grant), the Ampera could never fully justify it’s price tag especially with the arrival of new plug-in hybrids such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
The Outlander PHEV, which has topped the plug-in hybrid sales charts in 2014, is not only considerably more spacious than the Ampera, it also comes with the ability to rapid charge, regaining 80% battery capacity in under 30 minutes. This is becoming an essential factor in the sale of EVs in the UK, especially with the government aiding the accelerated roll-out of rapid charge point infrastructure across the country.
General Motors Europe (GME) were keen to assure buyers they were not exiting the electric vehicle market, however.
GME boss, Karl-Thomas Neumann, after announcing the end for the Ampera, said: “We see e-mobility as an important part of the mobility of tomorrow and we will continue to drive down costs and affordability.
“After the eventual run-out of the current-generation Ampera, we’ll introduce a successor product in the electric vehicle segment.”
With the second generation Chevrolet Volt being unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in the US next year, GM most probably will take a step back from Europe to develop a new EV strategy. Though, It is fair to presume this will involve a more affordable electric vehicle.
Autocar, Next Green Car