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Europe's Chevy Volt

Opel unveils its Ampera hybrid electric car at the Geneva Motor Show

After various sneak peeks and spy shots, we now have official pictures of the European version of the Chevrolet Volt. To be officially launched at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, the left hand drive Opel/Vauxhall Ampera will go on sale late 2011 with a right-hand drive Vauxhall version available in 2012.

While GM recently released the first images of the right hand drive Holden Volt at the Melbourne Motor Show in Australia, it looked exactly like a standard U.S. Volt with a Holden badge on the front grille. The Ampera looks quite different which is mostly due to the re-styled front bumper and different wheels.

The Ampera uses the same Voltec powertrain as the Volt and is built on the same GM Delta platform as used in the Chevrolet Cruze. The Ampera features the same series hybrid layout with a on-board 1.4 liter petrol engine that is only ever used to charge the 16 Kw/hr Lithium ion battery rather than drive the wheels.

The result is up to 60km (40 miles) of emissions-free driving between charges on battery power that costs only $0.01 per kilometer, or up to 500km (312 Miles) using electricity from the on-board engine-generator.

This makes the five-door, four-seat Ampera a highly sustainable choice for European motorists whose fuel prices are amongst the highest in the world.

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