Best Green Cars: Vauxhall Ampera
Vauxhall's solution to the problem of perfecting the electric car comes in the form of their car the Ampera. It is in fact a very innovative vehicle, designed to be an electric vehicle whose range is not restricted by its small batteries.
How does it work?
Vauxhall Ampera is a very clever car. It is an electric vehicle with an extra petrol engine, which is used as a handy power plant. The car has a set of batteries, these batteries when fully charged allow you to travel for about 40 miles depending on road condition and your driving style. This is not far compared to other EVs which can travel up 50% more no problem. But, when you run out of power the Ampera will not just stop, the electric motor will kick start to produce more electricity. It will not charge the batteries though, because Vauxhall did not believe this to be the most efficient method. The electricity produced by the petrol motor will be used directly to power the electric motor.
How do you fuel the Ampera?
You can use a standard socket to charge the battery pack after you get to your destination, which is a lot cheaper.
So why is it better?
Why is this solution better than those of normal EVs and hybrids? I hear you ask. Most importantly the cars range is not restricted by its batteries capacity, as is the case in other electric vehicles, the Ampera is also much more fuel efficient than any hybrid.
How does it work in practice?
After you charge the batteries, you can just get in your car and drive it using the 148bhp electric motor. When the batteries are depleted to 22%, the petrol motor (which is a 1.4 litre 85bhp unit) will start in order to power up the 71bhp generator/motor. Then, you can travel another 310 miles, so you will never be surprised by a lack of power in your battery pack.
In some cases, when more power is needed for example on motorways, it is possible to turn the generator into a normal motor and use it to get even more power. The Ampera can accelerate from 0 to 60 in just 10 sec, from 30 to 70 in 10 sec as well and from 50 to 70mph in 6.2sec, it really is fast enough even for conventional cars standards.
To conclude, Vauxhall have managed to make an electric vehicle that can be used everyday as a main means of transport, owners of the Ampera do not need another conventionally powered car to travel outside of the city. It is not a big family car though, it's not even a five seater because the batteries fully fill the transmission tunnel which extends itself through the place where the middle back seat should be. The boot is a pretty reasonable size. Overall, the interior is well designed and made even if a little cramped.
The Vauxhall Ampera is a great and really useful car. It can be yours for £28,750 (including £5,000 Plug-in Car Grant).
Amanda Burns is a car and travel enthusiast, she loves nothing more than setting off to discover a new corner of Scotland. She is the content manager for Frontier Vehicle Leasing; one of the UK's leading car leasing and contract hire specialists.