Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Opel Ampera and the Voltec Platform

A key aspect to General Motor's survival is what is now being called its Voltec platform - cars which are built on the same platform underpinning the Chevrolet Volt, an electric car scheduled to be introduced before the end of 2010. Besides the Chevrolet Volt, GM has been showcasing the Cadillac Converj concept, a luxury coupe version of the Volt as well as the Opel Ampera, a European counterpart to the Volt. Together, these three cars will play a prime role in distinguishing the direction General Motors will be going for the next decade or longer.

Opel Ampera and the Voltec Platform
Opel Ampera and the Voltec PlatformOpel Ampera and the Voltec Platform

Each of the three models will be "powered" by an electric lithium-ion battery, a rechargeable powerplant with an all-electric range of forty miles. Beyond that, a small gas engine will kick in and, in the case of the Chevrolet Volt, that engine will be the same 1.4L I4 motor as the one that will move the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze, a gasoline model. GM hasn't said which engines will be in the Ampera or the Converj, but the 1.4L may provide just enough power to move those two models as well.

Opel Ampera and the Voltec Platform
Opel Ampera and the Voltec Platform Once the all electric phase has ended, the engine should extend the car's range by at least another 250 miles, depending on the size of the gas tank installed. A regenerative braking system will partially recharge the battery, but a complete recharge of Voltec platform vehicles will take several hours. With a 110 volt outlet, a recharge should take six to eight hours to accomplish; but with a 220 volt outlet full recharging should be realized in four hours or less.

220 voltage outlets are used across Europe, while 110 volts is used in North America. Likely, dedicated power stations - whether in the home or on the road - will feature the higher voltage.

As far as body style goes, the Ampera will be a five door hatchback, a model that is highly desirable in Europe, but one that hasn't has much success in North America. The Chevrolet Volt will be a four door sedan while the Cadillac Converj is a sleek, two door coupe. GM is looking at developing other body styles for its many divisions including a crossover, sport/utility vehicle and perhaps a roadster. The latter model could replace the Cadillac XLR which is being retired this year.

Getting a glimpse of the Opel Ampera will have to wait until March when the Geneva Auto Show gets going. It is at that very event Opel is expected to roll out its own Voltec platform car, a model that General Motors hopes will be as well received as the Chevrolet Volt.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Matthew_Keegan

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