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Opel Not Left Out of the Volt Race

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2009 Opel Ampera concept

2009 Opel Ampera concept

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GM's well-oiled press machine looks like it's putting in overtime--this photo of an "Opel Ampera" just crossed the wires, and if our past experience with the 2011 Chevrolet Volt holds true, the Ampera's headed for a Euro showroom soon.

The Opel Ampera sketch shown here didn't come with any more information, but the lines are pretty familiar to anyone who's taken a look at the 2011 Chevrolet Volt photos we scored last September. The shapes are pretty familiar, too, if you remember our coverage of the Cadillac Converj concept from the recent 2009 Detroit auto show.

Like the Volt and the Converj, the Ampera likely shares the "Voltec" extended-range powertrain from the Volt namesake. It's a hybrid, but a serial hybrid--meaning the batteries provide about 40 miles of electric range (not of the Kenmore variety), and then the gasoline engine recharges the batteries and keeps the car moving. Fuel-economy numbers of 50, 100, even 150 mpg have been tossed out for various Voltec-powered GM future cars.

Bets are the Ampera is headed for a debut at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show in March. We'll keep our ears pricked up for more info; meantime, you Euros can relax and hold out hope that your very own extended-range vehicle is in the cards for...oh...well...whenever the U.S. government decides to pump more money into GM.

Want those 2011 Chevy Volt shots again? You got it

UPDATE: GM just issued the following release:

Opel To Reveal Ampera Electric Car At Geneva Motor Show

Opel Ampera to feature innovative GM Voltec technology

Rüsselsheim. Opel has announced Ampera as the name of its revolutionary extended-range electric car. The five-door, four-seat Opel Ampera will be revealed at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show (March 5-15).

“With the Ampera, Opel will be the first European automobile manufacturer to provide customers several hundred kilometers of non-stop electric driving,” said Alain Visser, GM Europe Chief Marketing Officer.

GM’s ground-breaking electric propulsion technology, called Voltec, operates differently from other advanced propulsion systems. For short trips up to 60 km, the Ampera will run only on lithium-ion battery power charged via a standard 230v outlet. For longer distances, the car will continue to drive on electricity that is generated by a small internal combustion engine.

The Ampera will be well-suited to the daily driving schedule of most European customers. For example, approximately 80 percent of German drivers travel less than 50 km daily.

Additional information on the Opel Ampera will be released March 3 at the Geneva Motor Show.

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