First Drive: Opel Ampera-E in Europe – Video

7 months ago by Jay Cole 33

The Opel Ampera-E made its official debut at the Paris Motor Show this past September, however it has long been known that the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt EV in the US would be re-packaged as an Opel product in Europe for quite some time.

Opel Ampera-E

Opel Ampera-E: The “Range Champion”

In fact, word of the Opel configuration was leaked on the very same day (in February of 2015) as confirmation that the Bolt EV would be headed into production.

And while we have been buried in first drive reports on the Chevrolet Bolt EV from the US (see Consumers Reports’ drive here, Car & Driver here, LA Times here, etc., etc.), that has not been the case for the Bolt’s sister car – the Opel Ampera-E.

Until now.

Opel has promoted the Ampera-E as an all-electric car with a 500+ km/310+ mile range – based on the imaginative European NEDC scale.

However,  thanks to the Chevy Bolt EV’s presence in the US, we know the actual “real world” (EPA) range of the 60 kWh EV to be a (still very strong) 383 km/238 miles.  And before anyone asks, no it won’t arrive as a RHD, as tooling in Orion, Michigan doesn’t provide for such an option at this time.

Check out this extensive first drive report (above) via YouTube/Vadim Ovsiankin, and just in case you missed it, check out the Opel Ampera-E’s introduction to Europe from Paris (below).

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33 responses to "First Drive: Opel Ampera-E in Europe – Video"

  1. WARREN says:

    Is he knocking on the hard plastic surfaces to knock the quality of the interior?? LOL.

    1. Mo says:

      Sad that they didn’t use a ‘sexy’ form factor and went more utilitarian. Thirty-somethings with no family have plenty of expendable cash and will get the Model 3 instead.

  2. Alaa says:

    Very nice.

  3. Terawatt says:

    It is sad GM doesn’t realize the potential of their product, and plan to make it only 0,5% of their overall production (of ten million vehicles) in 2017.

    Even so, things are moving pretty quickly. In less than a decade the industry will be transformed, Trump or no Trump.

    1. Eddiedi says:

      How quickly do u think it is possible to change production for millions of cars you do not know people want yet. Batteries are not the way of the future. Fuel cells will be.

      1. bogdan says:

        Fuell cells?
        I bet on antimatter!

      2. Nero says:

        try to run your fuel cell without the battery, then come back to discuss please.
        It is always funny to see such a comments where commenter doesn’t know that fuel cell car = ev charged from the cell instead of a plug

  4. Stefan Martinescu says:

    On the display it show a sign withe maximum road speed = 70 km/h.
    Is it able to read the road signs ?

    1. Jeff N says:

      Yes, cars with the forward-looking camera used for collision warning, lane tracking, and pedestrian detection etc. also can read speed limit signs.

  5. Chris says:

    Well done, good information.

  6. Seth says:

    Also, no 3 phase charging pins in the plug. Slow 3.6kW charging for everyone! Rejoice!

    What a dick move, that handicaps the car significantly. Coupled with 50kW capped CCS it makes the car quite a bit less attractive.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      Do we know that will be the case with the actual production Ampera-e?

    2. Bill Howland says:

      Seth and CLarkson:

      No, that is not true.. From a single phase line, the AmperaE will charge at 3,6 kw to draw less than 16 amperes.

      From a 3-phase line, the AmperaE will use 2 of the phases to provide 7,2 kw and also avoid any ‘imbalance limitation’ by also drawing less than 16 amperes.

      So the choice is: 3600 watts at 230 / 1 / 50.

      or 7200 watts at 230V400 (VEE in this case not WYE) – I’m not sure what you guys call it, but the common ‘earthed’ conductor will in this case have the same current as the phase wires, namely 16 amperes.

      1. Anders Skar says:

        Where did you get this information? Opel said 230V 1 phase 32A on Twitter.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          Germany will not allow 32 amps imbalance.

          Plenty of Euro equipment is designed to use 2 of 3 phases in a 230V400 configuration.

          32 amps single phase will be allowable in Great Britain since smaller homes there do not have 3 phase power (and some entire neighborhoods there also do not, from pictures I’ve seen), but places like Switzerland, Italy, and Germany limit the single phase loads, or imbalance between phases to be 16 or 20 amperes maximum depending on the country.

          Surely Opel plans on selling their Flagship car in Germany.

      2. Tony says:

        But 2 phase charging still creates imbalance, which is not good. Tesla supports full 3-phase balanced charging.

        Imbalance is a disaster for electricity grid. Honestly I think EU should simply forbid 1/2 phase charging of electrical cars. Only 3-phase balances charging should be allowed in EU.

  7. Miggy says:

    GM Opel need to market the Ampera-E with a 400km range not 500km as this is misleading.
    They also need to make it in RHD for the UK market as they would just love it over there.

    1. Boris says:

      Opel simply can not market the Ampera-e with a 400km range,because Renault already marked ZOE (with much smaller battery,41 vs.60 kWh) with this 400km range! The problem is NEDC standard,it is unrealistic…

  8. Konrad says:

    Is there any way to check in which European countries will the Ampera-E be available?

    1. Markus says:

      @Konrad:
      Probably only in 5 countries in the next time, I wrote in a post some weeks ago: https://aufstrom.com/2016/09/opel-ampera-e-wird-vorerst-nicht-in-oesterreich-auf-den-markt-kommen/

      You can also check it here: http://www.ampera-e.com/
      There are 8 languages listed, 3 of them are for Switzerland and one is just for the international press, because there won’t be a version for RHD markets like the UK.

    2. Markus says:

      Sorry, forgot to list the 5 countries here:
      – France
      – Germany
      – Netherlands
      – Norway
      – Switzerland

  9. Walt says:

    GM just lost my ‘vote’ when they signed the letter to trump demanding lower emission regulations. I’ll wait for the upcoming new leaf.

    1. Jason says:

      That’s just stupid. The Bolt is already here, if it suits your needs at the price you’re willing to pay, then go for it.

      Every company will lobby for different things. The fact GM has the Bolt makes them more impressive than all the others that don’t have a BEV. Signing the document does not mean it will get through, maybe Trump administration will surprise in this area. I sure hope they can see these new technologies have much more potential than those old technologies, regardless of climate change.

      1. ClarksonCote says:

        Right, better to prove to GM there is a market for these cars than to play into the idea that nobody wants them buy not buying one…

    2. Neromanceres says:

      Do you have a link to source this? My understanding is that the auto alliance has requested lower emissions regulations. While GM is one of many manufacturers that participate with the auto alliance do you have evidence that this move was influenced by GM specifically?

      GM is a very large car manufacturer and sits on many different alliances and other automotive industry groups. I think just because one of those alliances does something we don’t like doesn’t automatically make it GM’s fault.

  10. Michael says:

    What are the controls at 1:05? There is instrument lighting. headlights, but what is “auto”? Fog lights with 3 levels? Didn’t see fog lights on the exterior. So that must simplify the stalk for only turn signals and high beam.

    @ 1:51 Love that the door sill drops 2 inches. I’m getting too old and tired to lift my foot over and trying to squeeze it between the door and the usually high tub-like floor pan.

    @ 2:20 Why does the centre console intrude so far into the rear seating area? Did it have to go all the way to the floor? If it was cantilevered you could easily slide all the way across the seat without any obstruction.

    @ 2:30 Too bad there isn’t an opening into the rear trunk to stick skis through.

    @ 2:43 It looks like you could remove that insert and carry a spare tire. See also 4:48 for under car view. Brilliant if they left in place a lock down. Whats the blue thing at the rear? Where is the usual flat tire goo? My LEAF also has an electric compressor to re-inflate the tire. Screwdriver?

    @ 3:25 Stupid port placement. Try plugging into a curbside charger. The only proper placement is front centre like on the LEAF, Soul or Audi. Clarifies that it can charge at either 3.6 or 7.2 kW which is damn impressive. I assume that will be downrated for the crappy unreliable 120V lines in North America.

    @ 3:40 Four fluid reservoirs? What are they for? The two in the rear are virtually inaccessible.

    @ 3:45 My new favourite phrase, “Traffic light champion!”

    @ 7:11 Stupid on-demand paddle regen. It only works for as long as you hold it. How many braking systems do we need? Brake, accelerator and now a confusing paddle on the steering column? Weird that it behaves differently in D and L. Does the brake pedal engage blended regen like the LEAF or i3 or is it strictly mechanical like the Tesla? Personally, I really like the paddle shifters on the Outlander PHEV. Pulling the left hand one increases regenerative braking level from drive level B5. Pulling the right hand one for a second or two will take it back to drive (B2) in one go, or you can decrease in stages all the way back to B0 (coasting – no regen).

    @ 9:13 Very cool that it can read the road signs. However, the navigation system in my LEAF tells me the speed limit of the road I’m on. Usually. Sort of. It displays MPH although I’m in Canada.

    @ 9:27 Interesting that he says rapid charge/discharge (acceleration) will degrade the battery faster. I use DCFCs a few times a week.

    @9:40 What is the blinking red light?

    1. DAW says:

      Controls @ 1.05 auto is headlight dusk sensor and 3 levels are headlamp beam height settings

    2. Bill Howland says:

      “Crappy – Unreliable”.

      Any unreliability is not due to the 120 volt selection. And distribution in North America is far cheaper than Europe since in Residential Subdivisions at least, we only have 1/3 of the stuff exposed to Medium Voltage.

      The cost of wiring in the cheapest house is a bare fly spec – structured wiring costs more than all the power wiring in the house.

      1. Michael says:

        What I meant was that the standard European residential circuit can provide 240V @ 16A and thereby use the full 3.6 kW capacity of the charger.

        Whereas GM has so little confidence in the construction quality of North American homes that the Volt charger defaults to a mere 8 amps on a 120V outlet

        1. Bill Howland says:

          Quality and Size are unrelated.

          A volt has not had any heating problems when plugged into a ‘Spec-Grade’ outlet.

          Problems did occur when AGAINST GM’s DIRECTIVE, the initial charging cord was plugged into a very worn recepticle, which the OWNER’s manual specifically said NOT to do. They, unnecessarily in my view, but to avoid silly arguments later released very heavy duty attachment plugs. The original plug was fine if used as per GM’s directive.

          Teslas could not make that claim..

          My professional opinion when I first saw a Nema 14-50P tesla plug was that it was pure junk, and I verified it OVERHEATING AT THE TESLA SERVICE CENTER!!!!

          There is since no problem because they

          1). Limit the current if the voltage droops, and, much more importantly:

          2). Put a fusible link which shuts down the power when the plug is in danger of melting.

          I’m sure volt owners don’t care about your opinion, since the majority of them get along just fine on 120 volts.

          1. Bill Howland says:

            From the video, Ampera e’s will get 7200 watt chargers. The 3600 watt rating is apparently what BMW calls the ‘occasional use’ cord.

    3. Eddiedi says:

      The paddled regen info has been published. Look it up. Alternatively you can look like the know it all you sound like in your comment.