The Ampera – our Car of the Year 2012 – has had a successful market launch. With that, this blog has done its job.

Our blogs are now being re-launched together under one roof, the „Opel Blog“. Electric mobility experts and colleagues working on completely different projects will make their contributions here in the future, as will board members with posts and podcasts. The Ampera bloggers are virtually founding members of this new big Opel blog family. Posts are in German, but they can be quickly and easily translated with the help of Google translate.

The Ampera blog can still be accessed for information. Anyone looking for news in English will find the latest posts on Facebook or on Energy Hub. A complete list of Opel’s social media links can be found on the Opel Blog.

Ampera

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Ampera Roadshow

2,600 test drives in six months and ten countries – the Ampera was the center of attention wherever it went during its tour across Europe. The “groupies” were businesspeople, fleet managers and executives – all important target groups for us, as we expect that the majority of our electric vehicles will be sold to companies and public authorities.

Be it in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, France, Austria, Italy, Portugal, Spain or Germany, the tour bus in Ampera design was the highlight of workshops and presentations – which were of course followed by test drives.

Ampera at the Fraport AG

Example Fraport AG: Right now there are 3,000 vehicles used at and around the Frankfurt Airport, and ten percent of them are electric. The airport operator has clearly stated its goal to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. The Ampera is a perfect fit for this. The Fraport AG wants to expand its vehicle fleet with a number of electric vehicles with range extender in the fall of 2012.

Ampera at the Schaeffler Group


The case with the Schaeffler Group in Herzogenaurach is similar. That’s why around 60 employees are taking the opportunity during the roadshow to drive or be driven in one of the three Amperas. Asked to evaluate their experience, they come to a clear conclusion: the drivers gave the Ampera a very positive rating for its overall performance and the impression it made on them.

And there is still a lot to look forward to in Europe. Now the Ampera is heading to Spain, Italy, Portugal, Austria, Scandinavia and Greece. Within nine months, fleet customers in a total of 24 European countries will be able to have the pleasure of experiencing electric driving.

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Ampera Rescue Data Sheets and Service

Do good and talk about it – gladly, especially when it’s about the mobile rescue data sheets. After all, in November 2010 Opel was the first carmaker to offer this type of service for smartphones free of charge.

Development has been continuous: from zero to 60 at the beginning in 2010. Now there is data for 70 models, including for the Ampera electric car and the HydroGen4 fuel-cell vehicle. And for the “Car of the Year 2012, there are additional service numbers in 40 European countries available, ensuring complete technical assistance in the event of an emergency.

The rescue data sheets are still exclusive, but we are hoping for a lot of copycats. The current 1,680 data sheets in 24 languages give rescue crews life-saving information about the location of airbag inflators, body reinforcements, fuel lines, the tank and battery. This is without a doubt a huge plus for the around 40,000 professional rescuers and 1.3 million volunteers in Germany. After all, these vehicle components don’t always get along with rescue-service cutters, spreaders and hydraulic legs.

All data for the listed Opel models from 1991 to present are available online at http://www.opel-rescuecard.com. The new Astra GTC, the Corsa LPG, the passenger car variant of the new Combo and the new Zafira Tourer are on this list for the first time. Over http://www.ifz-berlin.de the Opel rescue data sheets can be downloaded and printed out. So far there have been 220,000 hits since the introduction of the service. The number speaks for itself and shows that we are keeping pace with the trends in mobile communication.

Mobile Ampera Rescue Data Sheets

But there’s more. Our goal in the task force „Rescuing people from cars in accidents” comprising the VDA and VDIK, fire department, ADAC and Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA) is to offer all involved rescue personnel uniform information across manufacturer lines. I represent us here and we currently hold the chair of this committee. An important step is the law that is to go into effect in May. This would enable rescue crews central access to the rescue data sheets of all manufacturers over a DAT server by submitting an online license-number query to the KBA. There the German license number is attributed to the registered vehicle type, thus enabling the exact automatic selection of the rescue data sheet.

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Ampera Facebook Page

A lot of people already noticed that we updated the Ampera Facebook profile to the new timeline. What are the advantages? In addition to the practical filters and the clear chronological overview, the contents can now be more easily identified as company or fan posts. And individual entries are given more importance as key news posts are shown across the entire timeline.

The free-diver from the Ampera commercial is the new visual element on the Facebook page. The eye-catching motif takes over the role of the welcome page and optically presents the key message from the commercial – going beyond boundaries and taking over a pioneering role. The new fan page has the motto “Dive into the world of Ampera”. One quickly sees that in spite of its young age, the Ampera is very grown up and already has a lot to say. Dive right in at http://www.facebook.com/OpelAmpera!

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Opel Ampera wins the Rallye Monte Carlo Énergies Nouvelles

The Ampera made it to the winner‘s podium the first time it took part in the Rallye Monte Carlo for vehicles with alternative propulsion, beating out competition from over 30 manufacturers. First place went to the French duo Bernard Darniche and Joseph Lambert, while Charlotte Berton and Olivier Sussot came in third. Two other Ampera teams finished in the top 10: Jean-Claude Andruet and Patrick Lienne came in seventh, and Hanns-Werner Wirth and Daniel Riesen eighth.

130 vehicles took part in the race, including six Amperas supported by Opel and one private team. In addition to navigating through challenging terrain, the goal was to drive the Ampera as efficiently as possible during the regularity rallye sections. Using a quotient from vehicle weight, CO2 emissions, fuel energy density and consumption, the exhibitors calculated comparable values and thereby overall standings.

We are really proud of this debut, congratulations to everyone!

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Alex Kahl, also known as “der-probefahrer.de” reports for us from the Rallye Monte Carlo des Energies Nouvelles.

Hi everyone!

Blogger Alex Kahl in the Ampera

My name is Alex. Here on the blog I want to tell you about my impressions, and over there on Facebook and Twitter you’re a bit more involved instead of just … you know what I mean. :) There I will be reporting to you about the stages until Sunday as best I can from the track.

Things were going at full power from the start. Into the hotel – a brief look out the window and immediately I discovered the Ampera I’ll be driving tomorrow from Annecy-le-Vieux to Monaco. For the moment, however, I’m not allowed to go near it – I was immediately instructed to go over and get into the car of Hanns-Werner Wirth and Daniel Riesen. And off we went on a quick photo tour.

Nervous? Me? Sitting in the car of the three-times winner of the classic Eifel Rallye, who has to drive for positions tomorrow? Not in the slightest :) But I did get jittery for the first few meters. Especially as the distance measurement unit was presumably already calibrated.

Thorsten, our photographer, handed me a radio, asking me “Did you ever do car-to car-photos?” My somewhat non-committal “Eeehm, ah, well, yeah” presumably conveyed adequately how uncertain I was about whether my little photo tours up to now would be sufficient to meet his requirements. “Just do what I tell you over the radio, it’ll be fine.”

Continue reading

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Ampera debuts at Alternative Energy Monte Carlo Rallye

From the Geneva Motor Show to the rallye track: the new “Car of the Year” is taking part in the international Rallye Monte Carlo for vehicles with alternative propulsion systems for the first time. Three teams from Belgium, France, Switzerland, Slovenia and Germany are competing in the “énergies nouvelles” category from March 22-25.
The goal is to cover a predetermined distance at a speed that remains as consistent as possible and with minimal fuel consumption.

Ampera debuts at Alternative Energy Monte Carlo Rallye

The German team has no less than the four-time Monte winner Christian Geistdörfer on board to reach this goal. He knows the rallye world inside out. After all, he won the world championships in 1982 in an Opel Ascona 400 sitting next to the “living legend” Walter Röhrl. Axel Kahl will report live from the cockpit during the competition. The established blogger will keep us posted with updates. And the fan community can stay up to speed on Facebook and Twitter.

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Designer Richard Shaw and the RAD e

Our blogger Jens Stratmann was in Geneva to speak to Richard Shaw, Chief Designer Advanced Design. And, of course, the conversation centered mainly on his particular field of expertise.

Richard, you are involved not only in shaping your own future, but that of many others as well. How did you actually become a designer?

I always had a passion for cars. When I left school, I actually wanted to be a pilot. I dreamed of flying high-speed planes. Then I saw that there was a design college, so I became a designer and was bitten by the bug.

It is well known that designers can see into the future; where is your crystal ball?

That’s in Rüsselsheim, although these days the crystal ball works by electronics. You have to realize that several years pass before an idea hits the road. We are constantly trying to respond as quickly as possible to the current spirit of the times, so you also have to keep an eye on the future. You always need to have new technologies at the back of your head. The bulk of the work involves research. Then you look at materials, further developments etc.

Designer at Opel, what’s that like? Does one person have to do everything, or is each one assigned a particular task?

That varies widely. We try to give each designer the chance of doing something different. Otherwise we are working together on projects and each person has a particular area to deal with. Working with concept vehicles is different to working on cars which are shortly before serial production. It is important when you are designing products that you always have the overall concept in the back of your mind. The car is one of the few products which can or must be designed from the outside and the inside.

RAD e at the Geneva Motor Show

With cars you have the problem that it’s not only about the look but also about the functionality. Then the laws and regulations also have to be taken into consideration. What are the various things you have to take into account for the design of a bumper for example?

That is correct. There are various radius angles that have to be maintained. You also have to take account of, for example, the angle of incidence and the angle of reflection of the number plate, and if lights also have to be installed, it just goes on and on. We work in a team hand in hand with the engineers, and coordinate our efforts directly with them. With cars it’s not only about the appearance, but also the ergonomics and, of course, the tactile experience.

Continue reading

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Ampera is Car of the Year 2012

It is now official: our electric car has won the most important and prestigious title awarded in the automotive industry. Ampera and “Car of the Year 2012” are now one and the same. 59 journalists from 23 European countries gave the “Car of the Year” 330 points – 49 more than the runner-up VW Up. Third place went to the new Ford Focus. A total of 35 vehicles were initial candidates, and seven made it into the final round.

The award was announced at the Geneva Motor Show for the first time. Our CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke and Susan Docherty, President and Managing Director of Chevrolet Europe accepted the trophy for the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera and the Chevrolet Volt from jury president Hakan Matson. “Proud” was one of the most prominent words in the acceptance speeches.

Uwe Winter was the journalists’ contact person in the last weeks. The Vehicle Line Director Ampera & Chief Engineer Electrical Vehicles is “absolutely thrilled. This is a great reward for the team that put everything they have into achieving this success. We couldn’t wait to see if we were able to convince the jury with our car and the idea behind it. The jury praised our courage and innovative spirit. We also see this award as encouragement. Behind the COTY logo I see the words Keep It Up.”

Ampera is Car of the Year Ampera is Car of the Year

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The Opel Social Media Team is in the starting blocks for Geneva. We also have a blogger, Jens Stratmann, who will be reporting from the 82nd Motor Show for us. He’ll have his own tab on our facebook page and will also post a guest commentary here on the blog. In his role as reporter, he’ll focus on our premiere models Astra OPC, Mokka and RAD e. If anyone has special requests beyond this coverage, they can let Jens know over facebook. He’ll then try to get and post the requested information or photos. You can stay up to date on our impressions of the Geneva Motor Show on Twitter, Google+ and YouTube. Enjoy!

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