21 Apr 2017
Opel Ampera-e Electric Car Brings New Way of Driving
- Electric mobility for all: 520 km range according to NEDC
- Fun to drive: Sportscar-like acceleration from a standing start and for overtaking
- Best connections: IntelliLink-e infotainment and Opel OnStar
Rüsselsheim. With the Ampera-e and its driving range of up to 520 kilometers in the New European Driving Cycle, Opel is introducing the first electric car that will enable the majority of car buyers to become electrically mobile; a new way of driving that opens the next chapter in the history of the automobile. For nearly 90 percent of drivers who commute between home and work each day, the 60 kWh lithium-ion battery and the efficiency-focused design of the Ampera-e allow it to be driven like a conventional automobile and then plugged in to charge the battery.
Opel is launching the Ampera-e first in the countries that already have some form of EV infrastructure in place or countries that have shown ambition to become EV leaders. The Ampera-e is on sale now in Norway, the most mature electric vehicle market in Europe. Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland will follow this year.
The Opel Ampera-e redefines electro-mobility with its electric range of 520 km (based on NEDC) – at least 100 km of additional range more than its nearest segment rival currently on the road. While the NEDC is important to create comparability, in the real world, factors such as road characteristics, weather conditions, driving style or additional load influence the range. Opel therefore also put the Ampera-e through tests similar to the speed profile defined in the WLTP driving cycle (shortened test procedure). The WLTP results are closer to real driving behavior. And the Opel Ampera-e also delivers here; based on these tests, the engineers estimate the combined WLTP range at 380 kilometers. Naturally, the range in everyday use will vary and depends on personal driving behavior and on external factors. However, the biggest obstacle to buying electric vehicles – range anxiety – is thus a thing of the past; and despite its future-potential, plus the advantages of pro-environmental electric mobility, the Ampera-e offers the acceleration of a powerful, traditional sports car.
The focus on efficiency and performance is reflected in the Ampera-e’s purposeful packaging. Outwardly compact, with a vehicle footprint similar to that of the Opel Corsa, the interior of the Ampera-e is more spacious than the larger Astra. With the passenger compartment located above the battery pack, which is mounted under the floor, the resultant higher seating positions create a “SUV-feeling” that is increasingly popular among new car buyers.
“One Pedal Driving”: Braking with the accelerator
But the Ampera-e has even more to offer: the revolutionary electric car allows relaxed and almost silent cruising while also being able to recharge the batteries when in motion. To do so, the driver just needs to ease off the accelerator in the normal “Drive” mode. The Ampera-e recuperates automatically in overrun and wins back energy from the electric motor that doubles as a generator. The motor’s braking effect is increased when the driver switches to “Low” mode, thus also increasing recuperation. Furthermore, the driver can switch to “Regeneration on Demand” for maximum energy recuperation via a paddle behind the steering wheel. The drag torque of the motor is so high in “Low/Regen on Demand” modes that the brake pedal does not need to be applied to reduce speed to a full stop in normal traffic. The Ampera-e can thus be controlled via the accelerator (One Pedal Driving). Obviously, the brake pedal still needs to be applied in case of emergency. Initial vehicle simulation models show that drivers can increase the range by up to five percent compared to “Drive” mode, when applying “One Pedal Driving” with the corresponding full recuperation in dense stop-and-go traffic.
The maximum torque of 360 Nm is responsible for the electrifying temperament of the new Opel. The power output of the electric motor is 150 kW/204 hp. Standing starts at traffic lights and entering the motorway belong to the Opel Ampera-e’s favorite disciplines. The compact car sprints from zero to 50 km/h in only 3.2 seconds, mid-range acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h, especially important for overtaking, is accomplished in just 4.5 seconds (provisional figures). Top speed is electronically limited to 150 km/h for the benefit for the overall range.
Fully suited for everyday use: Space for five people with luggage
However, the 4.16 meter long Ampera-e not only impresses with its acceleration. It also offers space for up to five people and a trunk volume of 381 liters, which is more than usual for cars of a similar size. This generous spaciousness is made possible by the clever integration of the ten battery modules. The entire package is located in the underbody and is tailored to the contours of the vehicle. This means that no space is wasted. The battery consists of 288 lithium-ion cells and has a capacity of 60 kWh. It was developed in cooperation with LG Chem.
With the battery located under the floor, the Ampera-e engineers have developed a new kind of body structure that protects the battery pack while minimizing weight. They used various grades of high-strength steel and aluminum to lower mass without negatively affecting safety or durability. About 81.5 percent of the Ampera-e’s body structure consists of high-strength or advanced high-strength steels. To reduce weight still further, the engineers selected aluminum for the enclosures, such as the hood, doors and tailgate, saving an additional six percent in weight compared with using conventional steel.
Driving pleasure for the passengers over long distances is also provided. In typical Opel fashion, the excellent feeling of spaciousness is complemented with the best in digital connectivity. The unique personal connectivity and service assistant Opel OnStar is combined with an infotainment system exclusive to the Ampera-e. The IntelliLink-e infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allows users to make calls, navigate to a destination, exchange messages and listen to music via Spotify via touchscreen control or voice recognition. The Ampera-e also features a new Bose sound system with seven high-performance speakers.
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