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Vauxhall Ampera review

It feels like a clever idea and you don't have the problem of running out of power, but the extra weight makes it a bit sluggish.

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Vauxhall calls its forthcoming Ampera the "stuff of fantasy in the real world". Ten years ago that would mean thundering performance and track-honed handling, but in these days of £1.30-a-litre fuel, a battery car without the range problems is a dream machine for an increasing number of people.

Vauxhall Ampera

The Ampera is an electric four-seater that’ll manage between 40 and50 miles on battery power alone. But when the packs are depleted the range is extended further by a petrol engine that charges up the batteries, giving it the same distance capabilities as any other car on the road.

There are no official UK figures yet on the fuel consumption, but over in the US the Environmental Protection Agency has said the Ampera’s sister car, the Chevy Volt, will return an impressive 112mpg based on imperial gallons.

Vauxhall Ampera stripped

Starting afresh much like Toyota did with the hybrid Prius, Vauxhall's parent company, GM, built a car specifically designed to take a lithium ion battery pack, as well as two electric motors and the quite standard 1.4-litre petrol engine.

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