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22 June 2010, 12:21 | Updated: 22 June 2010, 13:12
Today marks a turning point in UK automotive history when a Vauxhall car, which is electric, undertakes the longest single journey by an electric car on British roads.
The Ampera E-REV (Extended-Range Electric Vehicle) is being driven by a selection of drivers from Vauxhall’s home in Luton to its car plant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire – a journey more than 170 miles.
Duncan Aldred is Vauxhall’s MD, who will drive the Ampera on the first leg of its journey from the company’s Heritage Centre in Luton. He’s been telling Heart:
“It’s quite poignant that Luton, our home for the last 150 years, should mark the starting point of not just this historic journey, but also the future of E-REV vehicles in the UK.
"In the last century, Vauxhall is pioneered innovation and technology for mainstream car buyers, and this commitment will continue with the Ampera. We are truly energising the future for British motorists.”
"Most electrical cars can drive 60 miles or 100 miles and literally you run out of power and you have to plug the car in for 3 or 6 hours. What this vehicle does, it's got the electric batter but it also has a small battery, which means you can drive 300 miles without stopping.
"It allows you to save lots of money on fuel, it allows you to be exceptionally kind to the environment. It will be driving with zero tail-pipe emissions for most of the time and it's a great proposition for everyday use."
With the range of 350 miles, the Ampera will be using half its available power as it travels north up the M1 and M6 motorways, calling in a Vauxhall’s Brand Centre at Star City, Birmingham on the way.
Electricity drives the Ampera’s wheels at all times and speeds. And for the first 40 miles of the trip power will be supplied by electricity stored in the cutting-edge, 16kWh lithium-ion battery, meaning the Ampera will emit zero tailpipe emissions.
When the battery’s energy is depleted to a minimum state, a small petrol/E85-fuelled engine generator seamlessly provides electricity to power the electric drive unit, boosting range by a further 310 miles.
Once at Ellsemere Port, the Ampera, which is built on the same platform as the new Astra, will complete its journey at the end of the new Astra’s production line, welcomed by the plant director there, Tony Francavilla.