Opel Ampera-E Test Drive In Norway Finds The Long Range EV Ticking All The Boxes

MAY 13 2017 BY MARK KANE 29

Autocar recently had the chance to test drive the Opel Ampera-e in Norway, which is the launching point of the EV this month.  From there, the Ampera-e will spread across Europe, although we have heard several reports that available inventory of the all-electric Opel will be very thin for the remainder of 2017.

Opel Ampera-e

In short, the Ampera-e was well received by the media outfit, and even called the most practical and most useful pure-electric car on the market, at a relatively low price. Both the look and the driving experience was praised.

Autocar notes great acceleration (enchanting like the BMW i3) and accurate range predictions by the Amerpa-E’s instrumentation – as after 137 miles the dash was reading out the same net total “distance to empty” as at the start of the journey.

“The Ampera-e’s suspension operates smoothly and quietly, and the car stays level in corners while steering naturally and accurately. It grips gamely, too, with great front-end bite and no excess understeer. It hides its weight well and proves remarkably good fun to drive.”

On the interior, the Opel Ampera-e doesn’t fail in any way:

Opel Ampera-e

“Inside, all the trim panels and the dashboard are hard to the touch but easy enough on the eye. The front seats are trimmed in part-perforated leather, the rears in similar-looking vinyl, and the floor is completely flat.

The dashboard is dominated by an 8.0in display ahead of the driver and a 10.2in infotainment screen, the latter housing sat-nav, the usual settings menus and graphics revealing how and where the car’s electric energy is flowing. The smaller display includes range, state of battery charge, an indicator showing the rate of current loss or gain of charge, and the speedometer.”

“It all looks quite Tesla-like, and there’s a raft of connectivity including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto (one or other supplies the sat-nav) and GM’s OnStar services system. An induction-charging system for the vital smartphone is standard, and the usual suite of safety and parking-assist systems is also present. This is a well-equipped car.”

What we might quibble with is the beginning of the review, which links the Ampera-e (aka the Chevrolet Bolt EV) as the 2nd generation of the previous Opel Ampera (which we know is actually the Chevrolet Volt Mk1), but at the same time noting the change from range-extended operation to all-electric.

That of course is a not valid comparison of the two cars, as there is name a similarity, but in every other aspect these are totally different cars, on different platforms.

We aren’t sure if the reason for the statement was just to “dumb it down” for the general reader, but as we know, there is a 2nd generation of the original Ampera/Volt, but the decision was made to not bring that model to Europe.

Sidenote: we have seen this naming confusion on occasion when it comes to Ampera-e registrations, as some countries file the new all-electric offering under the old Volt-based “Ampera” counter, as if it had never left the market, and thus pushing lifetime sales higher than they really ought to be.

source: Autocar

Categories: Opel / Vauxhall, Test Drives


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29 Comments on "Opel Ampera-E Test Drive In Norway Finds The Long Range EV Ticking All The Boxes"

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If the dash was reading the same distance to empty after 137 miles of driving, then it’s breaking some laws of physics under the hood!! 😉 hehe

I guess the Autocar meant total overall estimated range (actual+remaining) was consistently the same. Good review though for sure!

So GM has a winner in the Opel Ampera-e.

Lets see how many (or few) they can ship to Europe to satisfy demand.

GM sold it to Puegot and they are no big hurry to make it. So maybe next year it will become available, at least that is what they are telling those that pre-ordered it.

This is for Bill Howland and/or anyone else who can answer my question.

I am confused! Who makes the Ampera-E and where is it made? I read a short time ago that GM sold the Opel and Vauxhall brands. Since the E is the sister to the Bolt, GM must be the manufacturer. And since GM must be the maker, the E must be made alongside the Bolt. So how does this all work out? Does GM wholesale the E to the mfgrs. they sold the Brands to?

Hi George! As far as I know, The BOLT ev and Ampera-e are made in ORION (pronounced or-e-on – not like the movie studio), Michigan on a flexible assembly line (like almost all vehicles) using parts from a variety of manufacturers, primarily South Korean LG (the old GOLDSTAR brand in the states). Apparently the only difference is the ‘type 2’ connector on the left front fender, but still can only charge from 2 wire 200-250 volts at up to 32 amperes, single-phase, 7200 watts maximum. About 1/2 of European domestic homes cannot have over 16-20 amperes of usage, so from home unfortunately the charge rate is limited to 3,6 kw, since they are using the same 110 or 220 chargers as they do in the states. 2). The charger brick ‘occasional use charging cord’ in the trunk has a country-specific plug on it – 110 in North America, 220 or whatever is the ‘household standard’ elsewhere. (Americans can supposedly change the plug and use the thing as is at 12 amperes, 240 volts, but I’m sure this would void any warranty). 3). The tires in the States are Michelin Run-Flat Low Rolling Resistance tire. Supposedly the Ampera-e also has Michelins… Read more »

Thanks, Bill.

If both brands are made in Mi. and GM sold the Opel brand then GM must be wholsaling the Ampera to the new owner.


Yes, GM keeps making Ampera-e for Opel and Opel keeps making Buick Regal for GM. This was part of the deal for limited time, but for how long? I haven’t seen details in public.

Keep in mind the Ampera-E comes with different tires (Michelin Primacy 3) than the Bolt EV (Michelin Energy Saver A/S) that handle better. The Primacy 3 are summer tires and quite a bit stiffer.

This entire Bolt/Ampera-e roll out thing has been very strange. The Bolt hasn’t sold well in the US, yet from reading this article it seems like they could sell more than they are in Norway. Why doesn’t GM build what they can, and what doesn’t sell in the US ship it to Norway?

Gee March 2017 is a year ago?

Time travel lag.

A year ago? March isn’t a year ago yet…
The article you’re linking to is only 2 months old.

I think the decision was made last year. I just linked to one of the many articles written after the deal was done.

It’s been for sale in the US for only 5 months and it is already in the top 5 for Jan-Apr sales. How is it “not selling well”?

Top 5 (of 5)? Should be top 1, sell 30,000 a year. Instead it got outsold by the seven year old Leaf!

(a) There aren’t only 5 EV cars on sale in the US!
(b) The Leaf is NOT in the top 5 for 2017!!
(c) None of the cars in the top 5 in the last year sold 30,000 cars!!!

GM is purposely limiting sales. Tried to buy in my area. Told sorry will have to wait until January 2018 and that would still only be a maybe. Dealer had no idea when he would get another.

Outsold by the Leaf? I think that speaks to the awesome value the Leaf offers for the price currently.

It WAS the #1 selling EV in the US last month.

Now sure where this “not selling well” meme even came from. But if you’re demanding it should be #1, then it satisfied your demands.

I was at my dealer a couple days ago. They only have 3 Bolt EVs on the lot right now. While that’s certainly more than 0 it would seem they are still in a bit shorter supply than the dealers would want.

I didn’t ask if they were hoping for more from GM. I just didn’t have the time.

An on another note, I have seen several TV ads for the Pacifica e Hybrid in the past couple days. I can tell (don’t ask how) that my PVR is inserting them, so they are being run as local insert ads. How local, I don’t know. I can’t even tell if anyone else is seeing them besides me. For all I know my ISP sees that I go to insideevs and thus serves me PHEV ads in my TV shows.

But that means Chrysler is advertising it on TV to someone at least. Unlike, say Chevy (Chevy corporate) with the Bolt EV.

GM wanted to ensure mass confusion with the Ampera-E being somehow related to the Ampera, because in America when you talk to a sales person on the phone Bolt sounds the same as VOLT in English.

Either way you say it, the Bolt/Ampera-E are the game changers for mass electric cars.

Chevy could eliminate some confusion if they went back to the naming method from years ago (all new models had to start with a “C”).

The last big opel seller in the states was the Opel Kadet, sold as a BUICK. They also made a low cost Roadster which Maxwell Smart traded his Alpine, (I think), then Karman-Ghia in on.

As a little kid I was surprised when opening the hood of a ’66 Kadet, and seeing it had only 3 battery cells; same as VW. Diamler must have modernized earlier.

All the dealers by me in Blue-Collar Western NY state (relatively poor, and not particularly interested in hybrids or EVs) that sell the Bolt have at least 10 each for sale.

Anyone pissing and moaning in the STATES that they can’t get them should make the short trip to Buffalo, NY and buy one.

Europe I can believe there’ll be a continual shortage, depending on how many Peugeot-Citroen want to purchase, and, seeing as the Ampera-E’s range right now even exceeds VW’s vaporware offerings in the distant future.

hopefully they’ll release Colt

Colt was a Dodge.

The current Buick Regal is an Opel. So is the Cascada (heck, it even has the same name as the Opel).

Also note that the Pontiac LeMans (an awful car) was also an Opel Kadett.

Saturn sold two Opels at once also, the Astra and Aura.

I don’t think using all “C”s would eliminate any confusion. It might help you know which cars are Chevys (but not the Caravan!) but it doesn’t help you tell them apart. Corsica/Cavalier/Citation/etc. was never any less confusing than the current lineup.

tbe (to be expected). Opel’s version could even be better looking than Chevy’s.

Funny how they gently mentioned anything about the seats. I have to wonder if GM paying reviewers to go ‘easy’ on the topic of front seat comfort? This is a major issue. Lots of Bolt front seats coming apart at less than 1k miles, and not very comfortable.