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Leasing pivotal for new Vauxhall Ampera

Date: 11 February 2009   |   Author: Hugh Hunston


Leasing packages in the business car sector will be pivotal to the launch of GM's electric-powered Ampera when it reaches the UK market towards the end of 2011.

As Vauxhall, and Opel on the Continent, prepare strategies for launching the five-door, four-seater that's likely to cost around £35,000, it is believed that leasing rather than outright purchase is the option favoured by GM.

Fleet operators will be wooed by emissions of 40g/km, fuel consumption of 170mpg from the small petrol engine that's used as a generator to charge the batteries, and theoretically low recharging bills amounting to as little as £400 a year.

A Vauxhall source said: "Business car buyers are our prime targets for this pioneering project where overall running costs are more important than the list price."

GM research shows that 80% of western European drivers do not exceed more than 50km (31 miles) a day commuting for 200 days a year. Most have access to overnight domestic plug-in mains recharging for 2.5 hours at under £1.

For fleet drivers the more relevant figure, designed to remove "range anxiety", is an approximate 390 miles range. With fully charged batteries alone the electric motor would power the Ampera for 60km or 37.3 miles.

Frank Weber, GM's head of global electric vehicle development, said price differentials over conventional counterparts depended on national "practical and fiscal encouragement and incentives".