Vauxhall Ampera

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One of the cars included in the government’s Plug-in Car Grant eligibility list is the Vauxhall Ampera; after the £5000 grant, the car will cost £28,995.

The idea behind the Ampera is that it’s an electric car for short urban journeys, but it also has a petrol engine for when you want to drive further than the range of the battery allows. Which is why it’s called an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle – or E-REV.

The Ampera’s petrol range-extender engine/generator produces its own electricity, with the generator engaging once the battery has reached a minimum level of charge.

It will have a range of up to 50 miles on the battery only, with a further 310 mile range from the generator, offering up to a total 360 mile range when needed.

Although it’s on course to be the UK’s first extended-range electric vehicle, the Ampera won’t be available to buy until early 2012.

A full charge for the Ampera’s battery can be achieved in less than four hours via a domestic 240v electricity socket at an average cost of around £1, depending on the tariff. Commuting within the 50 mile range will ensure very low running costs on battery electric drive only.

As well as exemption from Vehicle Excise Duty and from the London congestion charge, company car tax will be just 5%.

Vauxhall is offering the opportunity for drivers to become amongst the first to own an Ampera. For a £150 fully refundable reservation fee, potential customers can register at www.vauxhall-ampera.co.uk where they can pre-order an Ampera and also access exclusive events and opportunities in the build up to launch. There is no commitment to purchase.