Opel’s innovative electric car marks a decade
Opel is celebrating the 10 years of the Ampera , the first electric car of a European brand with a range extender, which appeared in 2011.
The model had an ion battery pack 16 kWh lithium battery that powers a 111 kW (150 hp) electric propulsion unit to provide, when fully charged, between 40 to 80 km of all-electric, zero-emissions mobility (depending on the route, driving style and temperature) .
On the road, the Ampera’s engine system guarantees dynamic performance. The instantaneous torque of 370 Nm allowed this Opel model to accelerate from 0 to 100 km / h in about nine seconds and reach a top speed of 161 km / h.
The Ampera stood out for providing an electrical conduction with virtually no noise, as a result of the battery powered engine and a smooth performance in the operating mode with a range extender. Thanks to the intervention of the Ampera’s range extender, users of this model benefited from driving without anxiety of range limit, as they are never limited due to a dead battery.
In addition to circulation with zero emissions, with sufficient autonomy to meet the daily needs of most European drivers on their commuting, the Ampera it also provided a total driving range of over 500 kilometers, thanks to the gasoline engine that played the role of a range extender.
The gasoline engine also served to generate electricity when the battery reached its minimum charge level.
Located under the hood, next to the gasoline engine, the electric drive unit consists of an electric drive motor, a generator / electric motor and an epicycloidal set of planetary gears, which improve the overall efficiency by reducing the combined rotation speed of the electric motors. Contrary to what happens in a conventional powerplant, there are no defined gear ratios.
In the autonomy extender mode, activated whenever the battery reaches its minimum charge , the driving force from a generator is sent to the electric propulsion unit. The generator is powered by a gasoline engine of 1.4 liters and 86 hp.
The “T” shaped battery pack and weighing 198 kg, it has an installed capacity of 16 kWh and is housed in the vehicle’s central tunnel.
The battery comprises 288 ion battery cells lithium batteries, configured for best performance and durability. It uses a liquid thermal management system and, at the time, it was the only series-produced battery that could be heated or cooled – an absolute first in the automotive industry.
Using a 230V 6A or 10A outlet, Ampera owners could fully charge the battery in about nine or five hours , respectively, as well as scheduling the loading time.
The decelerating kinetic energy recovery system allowed to maximize the energy generated during braking. Allowing the maximum levels of regenerative braking to be obtained through the electric motor, the system recharges the battery when braking.
But it wasn’t just the engine that Ampera proved innovative, as the conventional dials and indicators in the passenger compartment have been replaced by high definition polychromatic screens with touch-screen functionality.
In front of the driver, the panel conventional instrument cluster gave way to an information console for the driver, consisting of a configurable graphic display.
The Opel Ampera, which now celebrates 10 years, was extremely well received in all quarters. More than 5,000 “e-pioneers” came out as potential customers, even before the model was on sale, having won the title of ‘Car of the Year 2012’ in Europe.
The Ampera quickly became the best-selling electric car in Europe in 2012, with 6,631 units, representing about 21.0% of the European electric vehicle segment. Its main markets were, in that order, the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom.
At the end of production, in 2015, Ampera sales totaled more than 10,000 units.