The first prototype of the production Ampera today received its initial charge of electricity from the newly installed recharging station at Opel/Vauxhall's European headquarters.

The Ampera extended-range electric vehicle will use the energy stored in its 16kWh lithium-ion battery to drive the first stage of the 370-mile journey from Rüsselsheim, Germany, to the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland, without emitting CO2.

At the wheel will be Opel/Vauxhall Director of Electric Vehicle Implementation, Gherardo Corsini. "I am really looking forward to putting a lot of miles on our first Ampera prototype during this maiden test on public roads," said Corsini. "With 370 Nm of instantaneous, electric torque under my right foot, it promises to be an interesting and almost silent drive to Geneva."

When the battery's charge is low after around 40 miles, the Ampera's on-board internal combustion engine will start to generate electricity to drive the wheels for the remainder of the journey.

Opel Ampera

A battery electric vehicle would need to find a recharging station and stop for up to several hours to recharge its depleted battery before continuing the journey. The Ampera, however, brings emission-free electric mobility without the limitations of conventional electric cars. It can drive on seamlessly and without interruption for more than 300 miles before plugging into a household socket or filling up with fuel.

The prototype's long-distance drive from Rüsselsheim to Geneva demonstrates that the five-door, four-seat Ampera can be the primary vehicle in the household, ready to drive anywhere, any time. Series-production of the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera is scheduled to begin at the end of 2011.

Opel Ampera

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