GM's long-range EV still not confirmed for the UK
Unlike the previous Ampera, which had a ‘range-extender’ petrol engine, the new car is fully electric with a 60kWh battery – twice the capacity of the latest Nissan LEAF – and is likely to offer a range of around 300 miles on the European test cycle.
But Vauxhall chairman and managing director, Rory Harvey, says discussions about UK sales are ongoing: “We were one of the leaders with [the last] Ampera and range anxiety, and perhaps didn’t make the most of it. If we’re going to do something going forward it needs to have the business logic to support that.
“There’s legitimate customer demand, which is complemented by legislation or government incentives. You have to look at the whole package and say what’s the effective distribution footprint that’s going to meet customer needs and be commercially viable.”
This goes beyond sales volumes, Harvey added, with the Ampera-e’s wider importance now being debated, particularly in terms of changing incentives, market shifts towards SUVs – an area where Vauxhall’s range is currently limited, but likely to grow – the need to meet 95g/km weighted CO2 average by 2020 to avoid penalties, and growing societal concerns about diesel engines.
“I think you’d be relatively brave to predict today exactly how the segments are going to shift over the course of the next four years, and the size of those shifts. It reinforces the fact that we need to be nimble and we need to look at a number of opportunities, not a one-horse race.”