Chevy Volt to be Sold in Europe as Opel, Vauxhall Ampera

Posted: March 3, 2009

General Motors used the opening of the Geneva Motor Show to unveil a suspiciously familiar-looking vehicle - a midsize sedan that reportedly will travel up to 64 kilometers on battery power alone before a small gasoline engine activates to recharge its batteries. But don't call it the Chevy Volt.

Call it the Opel Ampera. Unless you're in the British Isles, where you should call it the Vauxhall Ampera.

GM plans to bring the Chevy Volt's basic architecture to virtually all of the markets where it sells cars, with slightly modified looks for each (they revealed Australia's Holden Volt in a quieter event last month).

Autoblog, however, says the European Ampera "officially looks better" than the U.S.-based Volt. The only mechanical difference, however, is the charging port. "Most European outlets supply higher voltage, between 220v and 240v, instead of the 110v plugs commonly used in the U.S. How this affects the car's charging time remains to be seen."

Oh, and the Vauxhall and Holden versions, of course, are right-hand drive.

Jalopnik agrees with Autoblog's assessment, saying "the Ampera is mechanically identical to its American cousin but is much better looking."

"When it arrives at Opel and Vauxhall dealerships in about two years," according to Edmunds Inside Line, "General Motors says the Ampera will be the first battery-powered vehicle in Europe ‘suitable for everyday driving.'"

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