Vauxhall and British Gas have announced a new partnership, teaming up to provide fast charging solutions for the Vauxhall’s Ampera range extender.
Faster home charging
The new alliance between Vauxhall and British Gas will see Ampera owners benefit from reduced home charging times – for an additional fee.
The British Gas Home Charging Solution allows the vehicle to draw 16 amps of current, compared with the standard six or 10-amp supply that’s usually available in private homes. This means the Ampera’s charging time from flat to fully-charged is reduced from six to four hours.
To get the speedier charging, homeowners must have a dedicated charging outlet fitted.
This sounds expensive at £799, including installation, three years parts and labour warranty and three years British Gas Home Electrical Care.
However, discounts of up to 75% are available to residents of government-designated Plugged-in Places, such as London, Milton Keynes and Greater Manchester. You can find the full list on the Department for Transport’s website.
Lower running costs
The Vauxhall Ampera is what’s known as a range-extender. That means the car is driven by a 148bhp electric motor – with power supplied by a lithium-ion battery pack – but that the car also has a 74bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine, which cuts in when the electric motor’s battery runs down.
On electric power alone, the Ampera has a maximum (claimed) range of 50 miles – enough to cope with 85% of commutes, according to Vauxhall. When it begins to run out, the petrol unit works as a generator, powering the electric motor rather than the wheels.
With a full tank of petrol this means a further 310 miles can be covered, giving the Ampera a total range of 360 miles when fully topped up.
Although official figures are yet to be announced, Vauxhall is claiming the Ampera emits just 27g/km CO2, and is able to achieve 175mpg.
Order books for the Vauxhall Ampera opened in January this year with the car priced from £29,995 including the £5,000 Government grant.
First customer deliveries begin in May 2012.