By Richard Lawton 26 March 2012
Vauxhall will launch its innovative Ampera range extender next month through a network of 24 specialist Vauxhall dealers.
The recently named European Car of the Year has already seen hundreds of people expressing an interest in the £33k car and the sales target for the rest of the year is around 2,500 to 3,000 units.
Comparing the Ampera to the fleet-favourite Insignia, launch manager Ian Allen says that annual savings on running costs for a company car driver could be as high as £4,000, thanks to low BIK, first year capital allowance, zero road tax, and fuel savings of around £1,100 based on 12,000 miles. Although electrically driven at all times, the Ampera has a range of up to 360 miles, thanks to a small engine which tops up the car’s batteries on longer journeys. On pure electric power the Ampera can clock up around 50 zero tailpipe-emission miles before needing a recharge - enough to cope with 85 per cent of commutes.
However, Vauxhall also acknowledges that for high mileage drivers – those that clock between 25,000 – 30,000 miles a year – they would be better off sticking with an efficient diesel, and because of that the Ampera is being targeted at drivers which travel between 12,000 – 15,000 miles a year.
At launch there is a choice of two models, the Positiv at £32,250 and the Electron at £33,995 (both include the £5,000 government grant). While the range will grow in September with the introduction of a sub-£30,000 entry model at £29,995.
The marque is keen to point out that although the Ampera looks expensive to buy, it is cheap to run; costing around £570 per year to charge overnight compared to petrol or diesel costs of £1,350.