Last edited by TEG; 09-07-2011 at 01:57 PM.
Earlier today I had it confirmed by Vauxhall that the Ampera uses 10.4 kWh of its 16 kWh battery (like the Volt).
So I had a drive of the Ampera yesterday. You can't get a great impression from a short closed track, but it was a taster. There should be demo cars available for more complete test drives before they are on sale.
- I actually like the cabin. Some people might find it claustrophobic but I actually like the cosseting feel.
- Build quality of the pre-production car was very good.
- Power delivery in EV mode was excellent and very smooth.
- I threw it into a few corners and it feels far more composed than some reviews had led me to believe.
- DAB radio standard - at last!
- The 8 year / 100,000 mile battery warranty will cover you if the battery capacity drops below 80%.
- I felt it to be a bit sluggish when running on the ICE.
- I waited for the track to clear, stopped and then floored it. The ICE revved up to high rpm and felt very harsh. I've had this complaint with the same 1.4 unit in the Astra - it sounds like a tractor.
- Headroom in the rear is not great. The boot/trunk lid hinges in front of your head and with it shut I can't fit. I'm 6ft/185cm.
So in summary, I like it. I can live with the odd rare interruption from the ICE for the other benefits the car brings the rest of the time. Rear headroom won't be a problem from the driver's seat.
I also had a coffee and a 20 minute chat with Vauxhall's Environmental Strategy and Ampera manager Ian Allen and fed back some comments, chief of which was that I really want a smartphone app for the car (a la Onstar). I also suggested that a pure EV version might be of interest if a real world 100 miles was possible.
As usual, the biggest complaints with PHEVs tend to be how they behaves when the ICE fires up.
Last edited by TEG; 09-11-2011 at 06:41 AM.
I had assumed that under high power demand, the motor might be able to dip into the battery buffer for the full 150 bhp (the ICE immediately replenishing it on lift off). I now feel, from the hesitancy and perceptibly slower acceleration, that it is just taking power from the ICE. Maybe a Volt owner can confirm. I will also ask Vauxhall.
I gather it is a little complicated just how much power comes from ICE vs battery at any given moment.
One, possibly related comment here:
GM: Volt reaches 2 million miles, 1.3 million of them gas-free - Page 8 - PriusChat Forums
2011 Chevrolet Volt Horsepower Graph Photo 43...More power is available at over 40mph in CS (Charge Sustaining) mode than in CD (Charge Depletion/EV) mode. This is because the engine and battery are supplying more power in either series or parallel/series hybrid mode than then the battery can alone...
Trying to use it as a 100% EV has some limitations.
Hmm. Of course that graph can't show you any hesitancy from 0 mph, but I'm surprised that they track as closely as that.
Here's a video from The Charging Point with Mike Boxwell.
Surprised they can get away with that advert "500km range, driving electricity further" - USING petrol...
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