With the Chevy Volt set to debut next year to great excitement, European customers are eager to get their hands on electric vehicles of their own. While GM may not initially offer the Volt in Europe, its German subsidiary Opel will be offering an electric vehicle with a virtually identical design to the Volt in 2011.
The Opel Ampera will arrive in 2011 and feature the ‘Voltec’ plug-in hybrid system, which pairs a small, efficient combustion engine with batteries and an electric motor. The system is the same system found in the upcoming Volt and in the Cadillac Converj concept.
Images of the upcoming Ampera leaked from a trademark database maintained by Europe's Office for Harmonization of the Internal Market (OHIM). That database is a regular source of leaks, as it frequently contains design renderings and sketches. In the Ampera's case, its trademark entry features a wealth of renderings of the upcoming production design.
The final production model may change slightly in appearance before its official unveiling, which is likely soon forthcoming. While the Ampera's renderings show that it will be a virtual Volt-lookalike, they also show that it will be getting unique wheel rim designs, as well as a revamped front bumper.
The car will charge on a standard 230-volt European outlet. It shares a 40 mile range on its battery with the Volt, enough for most Europeans according to GM. With a full tank of gas, this range is extended to an ample 500 miles.
GM recently asked the U.S. government for $16.6B USD more in loans. It hopes to use this money to avoid bankruptcy and help it forge ahead in international markets like Europe and the UK, where demand for its new electric vehicles is expected to be high.