Feeds
Vauxhall Ampera

Vauxhall Ampera hybrid e-car

The electric car comes of age?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

First Look Only the most ardent electric-vehicle advocate would argue that the current state of battery technology and absence of recharging infrastructure isn’t an impediment to the widespread adoption of the e-car.

On paper, the new Vauxhall Ampera – the European version of the Chevrolet Volt – has the perfect answer to this problem: it provides short-range zero-emission motoring and long-range flexibility in the same vehicle.

Vauxhall Ampera

Current model: Vauxhall's Ampera

First some basics. Most of the time, the Ampera is propelled by its 111kW (149bhp) electric traction motor. For the first 35 miles or so, this will be drawing power from a 16kWh lithium-ion battery that can be recharged from any domestic power socket.

When the battery charge hits the 22 per cent mark, an 85bhp 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine fires up to supply the drive motors and keep the next six per cent of the battery topped up as a buffer. To get the battery back to 100 per cent, or rather the usable bit between 22 per cent and 85 per cent, you have to plug it in.

Vauxhall Ampera

Torque of the town

You will notice I say motors. That’s because there are actually two, the primary traction motor and a secondary 53Kw (71bhp) motor/generator. The latter comes into play as a drive motor when cruising at high speed in EV mode and allows the main motor to spin at a lower, and so more efficient, speed.

Under certain circumstances, the petrol engine can also drive the front wheels through the motor/generator with the transaxle and planetary gears blending power from the traction motor and the petrol engine.

Vauxhall Ampera

The Voltec powertrain comprises two leccy motors

This explains why so many people get confused over the issue of the Ampera being purely electrically driven at all times. The system that General Motors’ engineers have cooked up is a little too clever and subtle for that question to be answered simply yes or no. The correct answer is, “most of the time unless circumstances dictate otherwise”.

Get into a fully-charged Ampera and the driving experience is much like a Nissan Leaf: you can sit back and enjoy the total silence and seamless acceleration. The 0-60 dash is dispensed with in 8.7 seconds thanks to a muscular 370Nm (273lb ft) of torque available from the off.

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Next page: E-motion

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?