Opel to introduce production version of Opel Ampera in Geneva
17 February 2011
The production version of the extended range electric vehicle Opel Ampera—the Chevy Volt’s European cousin—will make its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show. Around 1,000 people across Europe have reserved an Ampera to date, with half of those being corporate customers.
Opel will offer the Ampera for a uniform price of €42,900 (US$58,000) (RRP incl. VAT) throughout Europe. Because trim levels will differ from market to market, prices in each country may vary. Opel says that its pricing scheme eliminates confusion by listing the total cost of the car and battery.
The production version of the Opel Ampera does not deviate from the targets set during the development phase.
For the first 40 - 80 kilometers (25 - 50 miles), depending on terrain, driving style, and temperature, power is supplied by the electricity stored in the 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Independent research shows that around 80% of Europeans drive less than 60 kilometers (37 miles) per day. If a longer trip is required, the gasoline-fueled engine can extend the total driving range to more than 500 kilometers (311 miles) on a full tank.
The battery is recharged in about four hours at 230V by plugging the vehicle’s on-board charge system into a standard household outlet.
The 111 kW/150 hp electric motor delivers 370 N·m torque (273 lb-ft) from a standstill. It accelerates the Ampera from zero to 100 km/h in around nine seconds and enables a maximum speed of 161 km/h (100 mph).
Via a “Drive Mode” button in the center stack, the driver can choose Normal, Sport, Mountain or City modes. These modes optimize energy management according to the prevailing driving and road conditions.
The Normal mode is the default setting for the Ampera and is expected to be used most of the time to provide maximum efficiency. When the energy level of the battery drops below its state-of-charge operating window, the Ampera enters extended-range operation, during which the gasoline engine automatically runs to sustain the charge and enable extended-range travel. The battery’s state-of-charge is sustained by regenerative braking, allowing the gasoline generator to rest during long downhill stretches.
The Sport mode automatically reconfigures the accelerator pedal to provide a quicker response. While Sport mode doesn’t provide a higher power output, it does provide a more sensitive reaction to driver inputs.
The Mountain mode automatically adjusts the system to provide necessary power in mountainous environments, when the performance of conventional electric vehicles could be compromised. Mountain mode enables the range-extender to switch on before the battery reaches its minimum state-of-charge. Drivers should select this mode after a full charge or 10 to 15 minutes before entering mountainous terrain to enable full vehicle capability up sustained grades.
The City mode adapts battery management to the demands of modern commuter travel. Selecting City mode engages the range-extender immediately, saving the energy currently stored in the battery. When City mode is switched off, the range-extender stops and the Ampera is then able to use the energy saved in the battery for pure electric driving, for example in urban areas or restricted zones.
Aian PHEVs should have no problem to compete favorably with that very high price in EU.
Posted by: HarveyD | 17 February 2011 at 07:40 AM
Mountain mode? The 53 kW sustainer is more than sufficient to haul a car up a 6% grade at freeway speeds. What on earth do they need it for, except maybe towing?
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 17 February 2011 at 06:00 PM
EP: Mountain mode? The 53 kW sustainer is more than sufficient ...
If I understand well, they want the car to behave as predictable and normal as a standard ICE car to let the public get used to electric-drive without fears.
The "range-extender" ICE is a naturally aspirated 1.4L family 0 GM engine with limited maximum RPM and power, yielding those 53kW.
The EREV in CD mode should behave as a regular ICE car, but those 53kW are only ~ half of the maximum power drivers expect when using a car of this size and weight. It is calculated as a "maximum MEAN power use over a certain limited distance (time)".
Without the extra power from the batteries in CD mode, drivers would experience only a "half-sized engine", and might feel uncomfortable. A sudden loss of power without proper warning might even turn dangerous.
Imagine yourself overpassing a truck uphill with on a low SOC changing from CD to CS leaving you with a half-engine...
It's just reasonable to let the user/driver select a "Charge Reserve" mode, or a "mountain mode" where this range of SOC used for reserve electric power is broadened.
Well thought for the EREV design point, no error.
Oh, BTW, we have plenty of 1.0L(80HP) and 1.4L(100HP) GM family I SOHC (Econoflex) engines here in Brazil, with lighter cars, and you won't want to overpass uphill !
(There is no replacement for displacement... or reserve charge or reserve nitro ... ;-) )
Posted by: CelsoS | 17 February 2011 at 10:14 PM
The power for climbing against gravity is 31.5 kW at 60 MPH and 39.4 kW at 75 MPH. Accelerating from 60 MPH to 75 MPH requires 405 kJ or 112 Wh. The car has a ~8 kW power surplus at 60 MPH and requires about 12 kW from the battery to maintain 75 MPH. Doing this for 10 seconds or so is well within the parameters of charge-sustaining mode, and one could do it over and over with a duty cycle of about 40%.
In real mountains, the roads won't permit such high speeds and the car would always have a steady-state power surplus. I just don't see the need for a "mountain mode".Having funny modes so the car will "work" under various conditions may create more fears than it allays.
Tell it to Ford. ;-) There's still an acceleration reserve in the battery in CS mode. Okay, lets imagine it. The car is loaded to 2000 kg (about 1000 pounds of load, a nice round number) going up a 6% grade. It's starting from 60 MPH behind a truck and the driver wants to accelerate to 75 MPH. Asssume drag power at 60 MPH is 13 kW and ~26 kW at 75 MPH.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 18 February 2011 at 06:40 AM
Tell it to Ford. ;-)
hehehe, you're right! I should have mentioned overboosting!
Already dreaming of a sequel: the "Ampera OPC", where this pesky little 1.4L family 0 is substituted for a "more reasonable" 2.0L Turbo-DI family II like the Ecotec LNF adjusted to work as a miller cycle for the best BSFC when only charging, and as a tire burning power plant when desired. :-)
Assuming your numbers are ok, I would still prefer to have the option. Just in case. First products of a class to reach the market ...
May be GM is being overzealous in not entering the low SOC region in the first generations until usage models and degrading factors are fully understood.
Posted by: CelsoS | 18 February 2011 at 09:44 PM
A point I've made before is that Fiat's 990 cc, 2-cylinder TwinAir supplies a lot more power than GM's 1.4 liter in the Volt. The Volt's electric systems can remove most of the need for quick engine response and even throttling, so it would be entirely reasonable for GM to cut its 4-banger in half, add an intercooled turbo and an Atkinson cam and achieve the same power with about half the weight and much higher thermal efficiency. The engine controls could be tailored for emissions and efficiency, with the drivability concerns taken care of on the electric side.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 18 February 2011 at 10:39 PM
A quick look at a Garrett page on turbo selection suggests that the practical pressure ratio for a centrifugal turbo maxes out at about 4. If we take 3.5 as the design point, GM's normally-aspirated 1.4 liter could be replaced with a 500 cc Atkinson cycle with 11.2:1 compression and 14:1 expansion.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 19 February 2011 at 08:22 AM
I guess you're probably right, but that's not one of the objective of the first generations o this car.
They just won´t bother to fork into new SKUs for the ICE which is well known tech that they can implement whenever they want to.
Gen I is just an extended POC (Proof of Concept) to show a technology which could displace oil in sufficient amounts in a context of an availability shock. (<> than equally high cost to everybody!)
At current prices and conditions, even an old low tech V8 is good enough for most people. There is no individual cost signaling to what's better to society.
When the day comes that they can make money on this new segment of the market, they will face competition and will do their best to have an economical ICE-generator. By then the DI (pumps, injectors, EDU, ECUs), turbos, ... will be already mass produced and costs far lower.
Posted by: CelsoS | 21 February 2011 at 04:02 PM
They already have the DI and whatnot. What they could do by cutting down to a turbo 2-cylinder is cut the number of pistons, valves, injectors, etc. in half, and crank up the thermal efficiency quite a bit.
GM has received some sneering for the low MPG rating of the Volt. Applying some attention to weight reduction and higher efficiency would address that.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 21 February 2011 at 05:23 PM