The Ampera was launched in the US last year and did very well and it is expected to do well in the UK too.
Last year, the then transport secretary Phillip Hammond said: “2011 could be remembered as the year the electric car took off”, as he launched the grant scheme that covers nine different models. But, according to The Guardian, only around 1,000 were sold last year, and figures for first quarter sales in 2012 show that registrations of new electric cars have largely flatlined, and only half of the allocated budget for the grant scheme is likely to be taken up.
Of the 563,556 cars sold in Q1, only 278 were pure electric models, up from 218 on the year before. However, Vauxhall is aiming to sell 3,500 units of the car, which is worth £30,000, this year, or a total of 5,000 in a full year. A spokeswoman told The Guardian its target of 10,000 sales across Europe in 2012 was “in our reach quite easily”.
The main selling point of the new Ampera is that when its battery runs out after 50 miles of electric power, a petrol engine provides back-up power for a further 310 miles. But because the petrol still drives the electric motor, the company says the vehicle should be considered a “range extender”, not a hybrid car like the Toyota Prius.
This week the car is sent to 24 dealers across the UK and the company are looking forward to seeing how well it does in its first year on the market.
Could this be the beginning of a new wave of people buying electric cars?
Picture: The Charging Point