Vauxhall would much rather you called the Ampera an extended-range electric vehicle than a hybrid, and for good reason. It is a hybrid, but strictly speaking it is a series hybrid, at least most of the time.
The Ampera’s primary power source is a 148bhp AC synchronous electric friction motor, which draws electricity from a liquid-heated and cooled 16kWh lithium ion battery via a DC to AC current inverter.
The battery takes six hours to charge from a 13A domestic socket and is managed by an electronic power control module that taps into just 65 per cent of its total capacity in order to maximise operational life. However, that 65 per cent capacity is enough to give the Ampera an all-electric range of between 25 and 50 miles depending on temperature and usage, says Vauxhall.
Which, according to GM’s research, could satisfy the daily commuting needs of between 80 and 85 percent of the western motoring population without any consumption of petrol at all.
The Ampera even has an answer should you drain the petrol tank dry. That 22 per ent of remaining battery charge gives three to four miles of emergency electric-only range