Opel Ampera-e is an electric hatchback manufactured in Germany. The novelty in fact represents the “twin” Chevrolet Bolt and was introduced during the Paris Motor Show in September 2016. The car is visually and technically similar to the “overseas source” and stands out only by emblems. The new European model of the electric car has a fashionable design, rich equipment, a powerful electric motor and a large “range”. The whole model range is Opel.
After the debut electric model from GM was released, everyone was waiting for the return step from the representative of the association in Europe. The official presentation of the electric Chevrolet Bolt took place in 2016, and Opel is still an important member of the automotive industry in the European market. A few months later, the group presented a similar European version of the Chevrolet Bolt – Opel Amper-e.
This marketing move cannot be called a new one, as the European countries have more vehicles of their own assembly. Opel Amper-e contacts a certain well-known company and country. It is important to recognize that not all cars from America are honored by the residents of the Old World.
This kind of trick will make the electric model Opel Ampera-e more famous in European countries. I would like to note that Opel Ampere is not the first model of the company, as in March 2011 the hybrid version of the Opel Ampera, which was also a “twin brother” of the Chevrolet Volt car, was demonstrated.
Interestingly, the management of the company presented this car to the Pope Francis. It is unlikely that such a move is regarded as an advertising move, but PR turned out to be quite good.
As mentioned earlier, the visually new model Opel Ampere-e is almost a “brother” of Chevrolet Bolt EV. The main differences include the installation of other emblems, another grille, as well as a modified structure of the front bumper. The front area of the body of the Opel Ampera-e has a spectacular bi-xenon headlights, gentle false radiator grille and a solid bumper. The bumper itself is equipped with small fog strips.
From the outside, the Opel Ampere-e 2018 is considered a traditional B-class hatchback – there is an attractive, modern and eye catching look. Whatever side you look at, the body of an electric car is athletically shot down. After external acquaintance with the machine only pleasant sensations appear. The nose part of the “European” turned out to be strict, has “minivan” contours, as well as a compact hood.
The electrical model was designed by American market-oriented workers from the USA. It is possible to pay attention to a logic position: parameters of aerodynamics go into the background, and the vehicle is equipped with a brutal shape, highly established windshield, huge radiator grilles, and air intakes. The side part of the German Opel Ampera-e 2017 is spectacular and confused.
The window line rising up to the rear, the sloping roof and the unusual wheel rims placed in the massive arches of the wheels are pleasing to the eye. A little above the front left wing, the Germans placed a small hatch to charge the battery. It is a pity, but the ground clearance at the level of 115 millimeters, at least this parameter was announced for cars sold in Europe.
It is possible that the clearance height in other markets may be slightly increased. Chromium inserts on the bottom and on the roof as decorative rails will please you. There is also an abundance of slots and punching lines. In order to give the German model a visually larger size it was decided to use plastic protection “in a circle” of the vehicle.
The rear area of the European electric car, which has LED parking lights, a unique shape of the luggage compartment door, as well as a powerful rear bumper, which has integrated fog lamps lines, also looks nice. If you look at the top, noticeably anti-wing, received an additional stop-light. It cannot be said that the rear window is large, so the quality of the view may suffer a little.
Under the wiper blanket cleaning this glass, there is a branded “opelevsky” nameplate. In general, the aft part of the car looks as attractive as the front one. Opel Amper-e car in the city stream stands out, but it is not easy to understand at once that a car with an electric power plant is in front of you, because the appearance of the hatchback is more suitable for traditional vehicles running on an internal combustion engine.
The interior is equipped with a more minimalist style. The electronic stuffing is abundant, which is usually used for such machines. Salon specialists gathered well. At furnish have decided to use standard leather and fabric – the combined covering. The plastic used can definitely be attributed to the disadvantages of the vehicle, as during the impact noise from it goes well.
The armchairs are quite ordinary, the electric car Opel Ampera-e 2018 can accommodate 5 people, but the size of the car is small, so there is no need to expect plenty of free space. The front seats have a friendly profile and a wide range of settings. However, the side support in the American style is still weak.
There’s an impressive armrest between the front seats. It has a special box in which to comfortably store documents, wallet and so on. The driver can see a three-spoke steering wheel, which has received a lot of keys. Behind the “steering wheel” of the European model Opel one can see the screen “dashboard”, which received 8 inches. It displays all the necessary information and even more.
The central console Opel Amper-e 2018 has a non-standard style – it ends in the middle and flows further into the interior. German experts have equipped it with a 12-inch multimedia system, where you can also display the navigation. In addition, this screen displays information about the state of the battery.
Under the big screen there are buttons that help to control the “climate”, as well as a block with on/off buttons for various security systems. The transition from console to tunnel has made it possible to place a massive compartment in the console and a strip on the tunnel.
A little higher was the double cup holder and the traditional transmission selector, which is a bit like a BMW. According to experts, the next generation of electric model will get changes in the interior, but at the moment they simply do not.
The salon was finished in the style of European vehicles. But as for the seats and space – all this can be attributed to the American cars. It turns out that there was a kind of symbiosis of 2 different autocultures. It is very pleasant that the European “brother” of Chevrolet Bolt, Opel Ampera-e is equipped with a completely flat floor because there is no central tunnel. The back row is not the most spacious, but there is enough free space in front of the knees and above the head.
Each passenger will have a comfortable seat, regardless of their height. The luggage compartment of the Opel Ampera-e 2019 has a rather solid volume, as for this class – 478 liters. German hatchback is divided into 2 rows into 2 uneven parts, so if necessary, the trunk of the electric car can be increased up to 1 603 liters of useful space. It is necessary to notice that thus there is a noticeable “step”.
The electrical model has stunning parameters that make it a leader among successful green vehicles. The development department has been able to equip the hatchback with the necessary qualities of a modern, reliable electric machine: a powerful engine, a large battery and a solid power reserve.
The underhood of the German electric machine is equipped with a 3-phase electric motor with permanent magnets and a “double” axis. This all allows the electric motor to develop 150 kW or 204 horsepower, as well as 360 Nm of rotational force. The electric motor itself is already familiar, it was installed in the American Bolt EV. With the help of the improved power plant it is possible to drive on one charge about 300 kilometers.
The entire torque of the 204 hp Opel Ampera-e electric motor is transmitted to the front wheels by a single-stage gearbox. With regard to the dynamic performance, the German model is accelerated to a speed mark of 100 kilometers per hour in 7 seconds From zero to 50 kilometers per hour, the hatchback is accelerated in 3.2 seconds. The maximum speed does not exceed 145 kilometers per hour.
Under the bottom of the car, employees of the German company installed a traction lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 60 kWh. It is designed for 288 cells, which are arranged in 10 modules. This arrangement ensures a low centre of gravity and more space inside the vehicle and trunk.
But judging by the European ciclus of NEDC, the car can travel more than 500 kilometers on one battery charge. Two VOX journalists from Germany were able to set a record and drive 754.9 kilometers on a single charge. The manufacturer talks about the life cycle of the Opel Ampera-e battery – about 8 years.
There are several options for recharging the battery. There is the easiest but slowest option – charging with a simple household network (240V), which takes about 9 hours to 100 percent. It also provides for a fast charging option that replenishes 80 percent of the battery in half an hour. A smart enough solution has been found by specialists to set up the recovery or, to put it another way, the electric braking.
The control panel’s “automatic” selector can be used to select mode D (small regeneration) and L (strong regeneration). In addition, the steering wheel has a steering wheel switch to the left of the steering wheel. A similar selector is installed in modern gearboxes on the “automatic”. Using this switch, the owner, if necessary, switches on the maximum regeneration mode.
On a traditional car with an internal combustion engine, the driver can change the gearbox from a higher to a lower gear, which is reflected in the braking effect. Something similar happens to the regeneration system. This is necessary in order to make optimal use of the energy – to move freely if possible and, if possible, to brake only by means of regeneration.
Opel’s press office says that during the test drive from London to Paris, which was supposed to show fuel consumption, the car drove almost without the use of conventional brakes. Representatives of the company say that only a cyclist in Paris forced to use the brake pedal.
It’s a pity that General Motors decided to save money on the European version. The Ampere Opel received only one CCS connector, which provides direct current with power up to 50 kW. If you charge the battery of this hatchback, then for half an hour the battery will be fed so much that it will be enough for 150 km of travel. However, CCS (Combined Charging System) stations are not so common at the moment. More often than not, they can be found along European highways.
In order to fully charge the Opel Ampera-e battery before a long journey, experts recommend type 2 stations or household wall boxes. The German hatchback only works with them in one phase and 16A each. It turns out that the maximum charging power level does not exceed 3.7 kilowatts. If you use the Schuko plug, the charging potential is reduced to 2.3 kilowatts.
In practice, if you plug such a charger into a socket at 22:00, by 8:00 the charging level will reach only 50%. The CCS charging cells have an expensive price and are not designed for easy use in the garage. It turns out that even for a higher price Opel owners will not be able to change anything in this situation.
For example, Renault Zoe shows how a home battery charger can function using 3-phase current with a power of up to 22 kW. The required wall boxes are easily purchased at a cost of around EUR 1,000.
As far as the Amper layout is concerned, it’s just like a traditional front wheel drive. The German electric model Opel Ampera-e 2018 has a “cart” G2XX, which means an independent front and semi-independent rear suspension. Also, they did not forget to install McPherson shock-absorbing columns, as well as a resilient beam.
The power unit on the electric model was placed transversely in the front of the vehicle. The traction batteries stand at the bottom of the car under the seats. The hatchback is controlled well. It has at its disposal rack and pinion steering mechanism, complemented by an electric power steering.
The five-door machine is equipped with ventilated disc brakes at the front and conventional disc brakes at the rear. All this is complemented by ABS, EBD and energy recovery systems during braking.
General Motors battery lab
GM has the largest laboratory for automotive battery research in the western hemisphere, based on its data. The main part of the Ampere is put into mass production and is supplied from South Korea with a charging level of up to 30%. Chemical elements for galvanic components, as well as initial elements come from the partner company LG and are produced on behalf of GM.
The development of the models, if we compare the first Ampere hybrid vehicles, which were produced about 5 years ago with a full-fledged electric machine, does not stand still. The result of the progress is noticeable even in disassembled condition. As for the battery pack, it was also built from the initial components in the hybrids – after 2 galvanic elements there is a component of the heat exchanger through which the coolant passes.
This structure ensures excellent contact between each component of the battery and the cooling system and ensures optimum temperature control. However, these cooling components and the overall structure mean that less than half of the battery module’s capacity will be used for energy storage.
As for the galvanic elements in the Amper-e Opel, they have a high nickel content, so they are not so sensitive to non-standard temperatures. To cool the battery, there is no need to place heat exchangers between the galvanic cells – just cool the entire battery plate at the top and bottom.
The galvanic components only come into contact with the cooling system on the narrow side. It turns out that with the same volume the electric hatchback currently has a double capacity when compared to hybrid versions of the car. The created accumulator which weight makes 430 kg, arrives in a specialised transport box.
As the shell must be very strong to prevent the penetration of foreign components and the resulting ignition, it is incorporated into the structure of the vehicle as a bearing element. This is also done to save weight. Work in laboratories is not completed after the vehicle enters the market. There are climate chambers and vibrating machines that simulate the machine’s operation in fast scrolling mode (this continues for many months and years).
Such actions are aimed at identifying possible weaknesses in the battery structure. It is also unusual that apart from the General Motors batteries, the batteries of competing machines lie on the tables. There is a good tradition – joint transfer of information about potentially dangerous weaknesses in the design of batteries.
General Motors’ battery labs also continue to research far from new types of batteries. For example, the development department is considering the possibility of further application of batteries, which have become extremely weak for use in the vehicle. Five Ampere debut battery packs are installed in a large enclosure.
They are connected together as an energy storage unit. Large storage tanks can be used in industrial enterprises, in large residential complexes or in energy saving of a small village. This helps to eliminate the difficulties with disconnections and drops in the mains voltage. However, it is worth noting that until now, no one has received the first electric battery from General Motors.
For more than 4.5 years after the release of the Opel Ampera version (as well as the similar Chevrolet Volt car), the battery labs have never replaced hybrid batteries because of their lower capacity. This is an interesting fact, especially considering the fact that in the United States of America the debut version of the Chevrolet Volt has already traveled more than 300 thousand miles.
The European company has provided Opel Ampera-e 2018 with an abundance of modern technologies that ensure a high level of security. New product possesses:
- Ten airbags, including the air curtains;
- LED optics;
- Tracking system;
- Technology of course stability and ABS;
- System capable of automatically slowing down the car if a frontal impact hazard is detected;
- System capable of automatically slowing down the car if a frontal impact is detected;
- Technology that monitors blind spots with driver warning option;
- Technology that monitors dead spots;
- Rear camera;
- Cruise control with maximum speed limiter
- Parking assistant with front and rear parking sensors installed;
- Automatically darkening interior mirror;
- System that tracks and stores the lane of traffic;
- Three-point belts with pretensioners;
- ISOGIX child seat fixtures and other.
It is very important that the body of the Opel Ampere-e- 2018 was made using heavy-duty aluminum, which allowed to reduce the total weight of the electric machine, as well as to save the rigidity and torsional strength of the body. The German hatchback was able to take the lead in the safety rating of Class L cars after the crash tests. The overall NCAP classification was 70 percent.
Complete sets and prices
At first it was possible to buy a car only in Norway, as such vehicles are very popular there. In addition, there is a strong support of the state. There are deliveries to Ukraine with an official guarantee. Amper Opel can be purchased in one of the German cities from 39330 euros, which is equivalent to about $46001,00. The standard execution is called “E-Performance” and has:
- 150-kilowatt electric motor;
- Lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 60 kWh;
- Regenerative braking system;
- 17-inch skating rinks;
- Bixenon optics and LED travel lights as well as rear position lights;
- Exclusive seat upholstery, which received an orange stitch;
- Wireless smartphone charging pad;
- The Key Pass system;
- Technology of keyless access to the salon and engine start;
- “Climate” with remote control support;
- Full electric package including electric drive and side mirror heating function;
- Automatic wiper;
- Traffic and exchange rate stability system;
- Ten airbags;
- Multimedia 10.2-inch screen;
- Dashboard designed for 8 inches;
- Opel OnStar and WLAN access points;
- Three-point belts with pretensioners;
- Rear camera and so on.
As a separate option, potential buyers can choose from a wide list of branded accessories and additional options, useful features that significantly increase the value of the “European”. The packages “Comfort” and “Driver Assistance” are available.
The “Driver’s Aid” package includes a parking assistant, a rear camera, and monitoring of blind areas. If you pay additional 2790 euros, you can equip your electric hatchback Opel Ampera-e 2018 package “Comfort”, which has:
- System of heated seats on the first and second row;
- Rudder heating function;
- Original two-color 17-inch rollers;
- Advanced music system from Bose.
Comparison with competitors
Opel Ampere doesn’t have many competitors, but there are. Each of the described vehicles has its advantages and disadvantages. The Korean version of the Kia Soul EV 2018, which has a 30 kWh battery pack, is an updated version. The electric car has retained all its advantages from the debut version, and also received an improved power reserve and electronic filling.
Electric motor develops 109 horsepower. Also in the role of the rival and even loses a little (in terms of cost) quite popular BMW i3. Besides, the choice of buyers can be made by Volkswagen e-Golf, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Nissan Leaf e+, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Renault ZOE, Ford Focus Electric.
Owners of the Opel Ampera-e note the fantastic appearance, there are sharp lines, a massive front bumper, a narrow hood that looks almost to the ground, and a low landing, which turns a compact hatchback into a sports car. The vehicle has a low weight, excellent aerodynamics and a 200 hp powerplant – all this is well combined. The dynamics are impressive.
The “ceiling” of the maximum speed is a little upsetting, as at 146 kilometers per hour, Opel hints that it will not go faster. However, for a normal city ride, the Ampera-e is ideal. Inside the “European” it is quiet, sound and modest. The lion’s share has been given to a multimedia system that makes you feel like you’re in a spaceship.
However, the quality of the interior is poor. Because of the hard plastic and a little slippery skin, there is a little discomfort. It is no longer so convenient for three adults to sit behind you. It is also important to note the acceptable volume of luggage compartment.
Pluses and minuses
- Solid power reserve on one battery charge;
- Comfortable chair layout;
- Fast charging capability;
- Stylish, pleasant appearance;
- Digital dashboard;
- Large multimedia touchscreen display;
- High capacity luggage compartment;
- High security level;
- A large number of all kinds of electronic systems to help the driver;
- Small size;
- Not bad controllability;
- Beautiful dynamics;
- Good noise isolation;
- Rich basic equipment.
Cons of a car
- The bonneted space is occupied by all the important elements of an electric car, so there is no boot here;
- Quality of finishing materials used inside the Opel is far from ideal;
- In some moments, he loses to his opponents;
- Little ground clearance height;
- Modest maximum speed;
- Long-term charging from the household socket.
Summing up the European Opel Ampera-e, I would like to praise the General Motors Group, which seeks to strengthen its position in the electric car market. Of course, there are already a lot of such cars in Europe, but Opel company couldn’t sit back while its competitors were mastering this direction. Taking into account the hero of our review you understand that a compact electric car is able to compete with many cars.
And for this purpose, it has everything it needs: pleasant, stylish, original appearance, modern optics, small size, as well as a fairly strong electric power plant and a large battery. Of course, the interior of the Opel Ampere has not the best finishing materials, but the interior is ergonomic, comfortable, practical and modern.
The salon is equipped with two colour displays, one of which (the largest) supports touch control and is located on the centre console. The seats are quite comfortable, but the side support is made in the American style. There is plenty of free space inside, especially due to the absence of a floor transmission tunnel. Only 2 people can be conveniently placed behind, the three of them can sit down, but will not be very comfortable.
The rear rack is big enough, but it is a pity that in front of it the underhood space is occupied by power electronics, cooler (for battery) and auxiliary units, so it will not be possible to put something there. Electric motor is quite strong, especially for such a relatively small car. German hatchback turned out to be dynamic and well controlled (due to the low center of gravity).
It’s a pity the electric car is limited in maximum speed. The Opel Ampera-e is literally packed with electronic auxiliary systems to help the driver drive the car. Safety is high, so the model can be safely recommended for small families. The battery charge should be sufficient for 500 kilometers, which is a very good result.
As a result, Opel is also now able to compete on an equal footing in the green vehicle market. It’s just a little frustrating that the company has recently raised the price tag for this version, which can scare potential buyers a little bit.
We advise you to read the article: Opel’s history