Time has come for electric cars to hit Europe streets in a more serious manner than ever. General Motors, aka Opel in Europe has unveiled the Ampera e, the European equivalent of the Chevrolet Bolt in the US.
Long story short, the Opel Ampera e accelerates from zero to 30 mph in 3.2 seconds, has enough room to seat five, but the most amazing thing about this car is that it brags 500 kilometers of range. That is Tesla territory. Now, I’m a big fan of Tesla and will purchase one when finances will allow me, but I’m also glad to see competitors come and grab a share of the market, in the detriment of oil.
500 kilometers is 311 US miles per charge, according to the new European Driving Cycle test. While in the US they only advertise 238 miles, this is the same car, same battery, same drivetrain, they just used a different way of testing the mileage. And I imagine that by being an electric car, it has plenty of torque right when you push the pedal. The car at the show in Paris has been driven from London and still got 81 kilometers left.
As a big surprise, GM doesn’t have the UK in its plans for the Ampera e, as they didn’t make a right-hand drive version (Brexit, anyone?)
Europeans will be able to order the Ampera-e starting early 2017.
Everything sounds nice so far, but I think the biggest drawback for these cars (except Tesla, for most of Europe) is still the lack of charging infrastructure. Ordinary people, with limited financial resources, don’t buy a car just because it has this and that, and because it’s electric, if that car can’t be charged properly and quickly to get the job done.
There are plenty of chargers in Europe, but they aren’t quite as fast as Tesla’s, and by that electric cars don’t offer the same convenience as gas-powered ones. However, having more and more electric cars on the road and being able to travel more and more on a single charge is a big step forward. This alone I think is able to stir interest from private and public powers to install charging infrastructure everywhere there’s a gas station.