Two pioneering electric vehicles have been jointly voted European Car of the Year 2012. The Opel/Vauxhall Ampera, which is sold in North America as the Chevrolet Volt, won the prestigious award at the Geneva Motor Show.
The eco-friendly vehicles, made by General Motors, beat the VW Up and Ford Focus to the honour that was decided by 59 top motor journalists from across Europe. The award was received by Opel/Vauxhall CEO, Karl-Friedrich Stracke and Chevrolet's President and Managing Director for Europe, Susan Docherty, were both handed the Car of the Year 2012 award. It was presented by judging panel president, Hakan Matson.
Karl-Friedrich Stracke says, "The point with the Opel Ampera is that it is a family car. Families can rely on it, using e-mobility without range anxiety. Therefore this award is extremely important for us."
The honour would encourage Opel/Vauxhall to carry on developing electric vehicles, he adds. The electric cars competed against a total of 35 entries and five other finalists. They were judged on performance, efficiency, design, technology and comfort.
Credit: © Opel
Susan Docherty said the Volt showed that driving electric cars could be fun, while still being eco-friendly. The Volt and Ampera have already won other awards such as World Green Car of the Year 2011 and the North American Car of the Year 2011.
Both the Ampera and Volt have the maximum 5-star Euro NCAP safety award.
The electric vehicles, powered by a 16volt lithium batteries that drive the 111kW/150 hp electric motor, are the first that can travel anywhere at anytime. They can reach up to 50 miles (80 kilometres) when powered only by battery and the journeys are then emission-free. If the batteries run down the petrol engine kicks in and drives a generator to operate the electric drive, which extends the range to 301 miles 500 kilometres.