Commercialization of the first 100% electric car Opel has just been postponed at the end of the year on the french market. Not that the Ampera-e does not like, but it is instead subject to a too big number of orders in European countries where it’s already sold.
The Opel Ampera-e was one of the stars of the last world of automotive and by far the one that has attracted the most people on the stand of the brand, including displaying 520 km of autonomy. Today, Opel is freed from this magical figure in cycle NEDC to announce 380 km according to in-house testing approaching cycle WLTP, soon into force and more realistic.
We will see later that this data is fairly reliable, with a real observed range from a minimum of 300 km, or 350 km. Flattering figures made possible by the use of a battery of 60 kWh, that should not overshadow the important time to refill when empty: up to 26 hours on a plug of 16 amps, and about 2:00 on a fast charge. Therefore, do not wait to be almost dry to replenish his energy.
While commercialization of the car has been postponed at the end of the year in France, estimated its price to about €39 500 (excluding bonus of €6,000), given the prices in Germany. In Norway, where the State aid are more strong but planned to drop in the coming weeks, the demand is very high and the only factory that manufactures the 2018 Opel Ampera-e, in the United States, does not follow the pace. Opel had to make choices and serve markets that best prepared to receive its first model 100% electric (Norway, Germany, Switzerland and Netherlands) and the France will wait.
Cousin of the Chevrolet Bolt
Opel didn’t go from scratch with this 2018 Opel Ampera-e since General Motors sells this model in the Chevrolet range under the name of Bolt. The Ampera-e, except some direction settings, is the copy of the Bolt in terms of technology, with a generous 60 kWh power made by the Korean LG battery.
Between the Renault Zoé and the Nissan Leaf
With a length of 4.16 m for a width of 1.76 m (without mirrors) and a height of 1.59 m, the Opel Ampera-e is between the Renault Zoe (4.08 m long) and the Nissan Leaf (4.44 m). On the other hand, its wheelbase is 2.60 m, or barely more than that of a Zoe or a BMW i3 (16 cm shorter) and 10 cm less than a Leaf. But this does not seem to harm him unduly, in either handling or habitability.
Applied immediately the question of autonomy… The day of our test, it’s 0 degrees and snowing in Oslo (Norway). Suffice to say that the worst conditions for an electric car, especially since we have to use heating, lights, but also charge our phones (by induction or by one of the four USB receptacles).
When we take the wheel, the meter displays a theoretical range of 369 km. The first part of the journey made on Highway, allows us to realize nervousness 2018 Opel Ampera-e, and ability to fit into the circulation. We quickly reach more than 120 km/h, stand the pace and it shows fast: only 40 km we have lost 100 km of theoretical range…
But, while we are in urban areas and we are forced to follow the vagaries of traffic, we find that we “make” energy and autonomy go back. Without practicing eco-driving, doing many maneuvers for the needs of a photo shoot and speeding up frankly, we consume to the final 21 kWh on average, to nearly 110 km.
This indicates that by mixing these different rhythms of driving, we could have done at least 300 km, and frankly more by being a bit frugal by milder weather. The 380 km advanced by Opel then appear as realistic and plausible the 350 km barrier crossing
In town, the noise and aerodynamics are not too present. On a fast track, the sound of air are more numerous, but all is good. Good performance displayed by the new Opel will highlight then: 3.2 s to go from 0 to 50 km/h, 7.3 s for 0 to 100 km/h, and covers canon of 4.5 s to accelerate from 80 to 120 km/h. It’s all salt electric cars: propose (360 Nm) maximum torque from the start, and power to all floors.
The Ampera-e shows so more reactive than its thermal cousins at startup, but also very safe on road, where it offers overruns lightning through his power of 204 HP. However, it is not the quickest on German motorways: the Ampera-e is restricted to 150 km/h, in order to preserve its lithium-ion battery technology and its autonomy.
Engine braking Changes and customizable
In General, electric cars recharge partially rolling through the recovery of energy in braking and downturn phases. In some vehicles, this regeneration may increase due to an increase in engine braking. This is the case of the 2018 Opel Ampera-e, which offers a classic D complementary mode, “L” for Low Drive.
This mode allows to increase engine braking to the extent that it is possible to drive – and a way – without touching the brake pedal until the total stop of the vehicle. We can even amplify the power of slowdown via a lever located behind the wheel. Got it very quickly and it’s also fun. Note that in these special conditions of conduct stop lights illuminate, then relegating the ‘real’ brakes to a secondary role.
The disadvantages of the weight
Lodging 430 kg of batteries in the floor of the car, which then 1 691 kg Opel does not have the odds on its side on the dynamic plane. The first felt is the loss of motor control of the front during heavy acceleration, more on wet ground, of course. But we feel that this phenomenon of torque in the nose gear is linked to the important weight housed in the heart of the chassis, which is felt also in turn.
This is no the Ampera-e an unpleasant to drive a car, but it is clear that his dynamic side is handicapped by this characteristic, which also dictated the choice a depreciation and calibrated suspension is firm, while remaining homogeneous. Because of this, the handling is good and roll contained. Management as it appears very consistent, but it lacks precision and gives off a feel artificial, like a blur around the point 0.
Opel has not missed his shot in the style of the Interior. But the relationship with Chevrolet and its economic side too is felt. Certainly, the upper part of the dashboard receives a filming soft to the touch. But the whole of plastics is low end, varying hues, and textures, unworthy of a model of this price. The dashboard is yet a glance born pencil handy and demonstrative and adopts colors and good reasons.
The articulation of the range is not yet known, but the 2018 Opel Ampera-e will accommodate all that exists today in equipment of comfort or security, apart from the speed controller, which has been forgotten… Moreover, although it has a 10.2-inch screen in the center of the dashboard, it does provide navigation system. Insofar as it is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Opel is based on the principle that the user will use more willingly of their smartphone applications. A curious choice that requires the motorist to use his phone. At a minimum, Opel could offer apps built directly into its multimedia system.
As the footprint of the Ampera-e is close to that of a Corsa, Opel announced a better than an Astra habitability. It is true that electric vehicles leave more opportunities for designers to size and position the furniture inside, and the square dedicated to the occupants appear so impressive for a car of this size. But this generous space was also reached by the choice of narrow and hard front seats on the sides, that don’t impress with the quality of the materials that adorn them.
At the rear, the place remaining leg is impressive, and the guard to the roof is good. On the other hand, if the foundations of the side seats of the seat are well trimmed, the central square is elevated and harder, as often.
Another benefit of the development of a vehicle thought to be 100% electric, the preservation of trunk volume: 381 liters. For a car of 4.16 m long, it is excellent and close to 100 liters for a Peugeot 208, certainly shorter, but 51 liters more than a yet greater Leaf, including the new generation, will be presented at the end of the year at the Tokyo Motor Show.
The classic modularity (2/3-1/3) of the seat allows you to push the capacity 1 274 liters, another good score. Note that the trunk has a double bottom, convenient to store her imposing charging cable.
Today, none of the competitors of the Opel Ampera-e offers autonomy as high on its technical specifications (in cycle NEDC) or in reality. The Renault Zoé promises 400 km when the most powerful of the Nissan Leaf displays 250 km, the BMW i3 is 312 km, the Hyundai Ionic to 280 km and the e-Golf Volkswagen to 300 km. At Kia, Soul EV has changed its batteries, from 212 to 250 km of theoretical autonomy.
Considering the performance identified in real use, none of its cars is able to ride as long as they promise, but the hierarchy is respected: the 2018 Opel Ampera-e is the one that offers the most, with up to at least 350 km according to the senior records of our test, all for a level of power and performance.
Like all electric cars, the Opel 2018 Opel Ampera-e is very fun to drive. In addition, his power actually one level model playful and powerful. But beyond its price, cooldown off fast terminal can put off. In addition, even if his inner presentation is good, the level of finish is inconsistent with the standing of the craft.
However, the Ampera-e is the first electric to really allow to escape questions of autonomy in most of the more common cases. Need to recharge more often possible in order not to be immobilized long for batteries run out, but round-trip 150 km from his home is today widely possible on board, which is not the case with all of its competitors. Apart from the very expensive Tesla the Ampera-e is the most powerful electric car, but also one that offers as much independence in the heart of the category of models sold at an acceptable price.