back to article Euro-style GM Volt design revealed

Thanks to the folks at the EU Office for Harmonization of the Internal Market we can now see the how the Opal Ampera will differ from the Chevrolet Volt. As suggested by the first glimpse of the Ampera, what we Europeans are going to get is essentially the Volt but with the sleek nose and funky headlight clusters of the 2007 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Must be fun to bash?

    No consumers have actually driven the U.S. Volt, yet the bashing has already started despite the fact the new Malibu has received rave reviews for styling, interior quality and performance. Old perceptions die hard...

  2. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    European sensibilities?

    Regardless of the plastic and carpet, the one thing the Euro version will have that the Yank one won't is a German designed seat that will offer similar comfort levels to sitting on a bean bag stuffed with rocks.


    Oh for the comfy, soft, drive-hundreds-of-miles-without-getting-piles chairs of the American version and why oh why do European manufacturers persist in fitting seats apparently designed for use by the Spanish Inquisition? (GM, Ford*, Fiat** and VAG? I'm especially looking at you here....)

    *A special mention goes to Ford, who not only fit their cars with seats designed to cause paralysis of the lower leg, culminating in deep vein thrombosis, they've also forced Mazda to fit 'em too.

    **Technology award to Fiat here for the seats in the new Croma, which have their side sections made of a material which is uncomfortably hard and intrusive when sat still and going in a straight line, yet melts away to offer no support at all when cornering. A miracle of materials science which raises the crapness bar of Euro-seat design to a new level.


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Old perceptions, new perceptions

    The US car industry did not become the train wreck that it is through making good cars. The sterotype of the crap US car exists for a reason.

    Paris because even she is smart enough to buy European.

  4. Christopher Rogers
    Paris Hilton

    @ AC

    Yes it is fun to bash. The yanks haven't given us a reason to stop over the years, so why should we stop now? Maybe if this is the turning point we will stop, but for now, bashing is the preferred option as there is years of material to bash....

    PH - cos i'd ba........

  5. Steven Jones

    Fingers crossed

    I have my fingers crossed over this sort of technology as it does look like a practical evolution of a vehicle which might actually be of use to 90% of the population rather than the sleek electro-automotive vapourware that this publiction seems to salivate over. Stuffing half a tonne of LI-ion batteries into a sports car chassis as a weekend toy with limited range and lengthy recharging times does not make for something of much use to most people's practical lives.

    When the engineers get to work refining this sort of concept then we might have something that I could consider buying. It can't be the last word in electro-propulsion, but it might actually be a step (or should I say a roll) down a viable road.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Must be fun to bash?

    American cars are shit. Period.

  7. FreeTard

    There hasn't been a decent american car yet

    It sure looks good from the outside, but there hasn't been a proper handling Merkin car ever, apart from very expensive ones that is. None of their "trucks" (4x4's) go offroad without falling off.

    So yes, there will indeed be pessimism, especially from myself -- who is in the market for a new car this year. I'm definitely buying something mega efficient, but must look good and have a good price -- not an issue these days HA!

  8. Paddy Fagan
    Thumb Up

    Actual photos have leaked onto the web

    Looks like the drawings are smack on the money:

  9. Lionel Baden


    imo fugly !!

    oh well !

    at least its a step forward to leccy cars that execs might buy

  10. Richard Cartledge


    The design looks 3 years old already, they had better bring it out pretty quick.

  11. Tanuki
    Thumb Down


    Looks OK from the side and rear, but the "crying eyes" headlights/front styling is a spectacular turnoff for me.

    And what's with the big air-intake at the front? If it's leccy-powered it's bot going to be pumping out 100Kw of waste-heat like a petrol/dieel engine does - so why oes it *need* anything more than a tiny air-intake (for the A.C cooler)?

    If they'd given it a distinctive 'smooth' nose [possibly with a full-width 'light-bar' headlight slot as on some mid-90s US cars?] and done away with the big air-intake it would have looked better.

  12. Pete James

    Deserves to succeed

    It's not hugely advanced but as Steven Jones said, it's a step forward and GM should be given some thanks for trying. It's a lot better than the ridiculous flights of fancy other people been given pixel time on here.

    I would imagine the volume sales projections and the company's parlous finances along with whatever commitments they may have made regarding safeguarding US jobs will mean the vehicle will be made in the US and shipped over. It would of course be very good news indeed should it get built at Ellesmere Port.

  13. Simon Ward

    Personally ...

    ... I don't give a flying fuck how it looks.

    My main concerns, in approximate order, are:

    - How well does it perform (range, charge time etc.)

    - How much is it going to cost (I fear the worst here)

    - Whether or not it's a glorified proof-of-concept like the Prius (signs point to 'not' here)

    - There was going to be an 'actually looks like a car' requirement here, but GM have nailed that.

    Tick these three boxes and I'll buy, otherwise I'll stick with my aging Renault.

  14. Steven Jones


    It's a plug-in hybrid. That does mean it has a petrol motor to charge the batteries when they run low and you need the range. I doubt it's as much as 100KW as a sensible design would aim to have a petrol generator running at optimal thermodynamic efficiency and a lower power rating as the batteries can provide instantaeous power at higher rates. Just don't expect to put your foot flat to the floor indefinitely - the generator won't keep up.

    So an intake for cool air is required.

  15. Keiran

    Leaking photos in White?!?

    Could not have been a worse colour. I don't think it's possible for any car to look good in white.

  16. Bo Pedersen
    Thumb Up

    Those headlights on OUR Roads?

    Sorry but the funky light clusters are little more than money spinners

    the standard lighting of the volt would no doubt be more economical to maintain after a bashing of gravel

    otherwise I quite like both cars

    and am looking forward to the leccy revolution, can I have a couple of extra batteries for the stereo? :)

  17. Pete James


    The air intake will be primarily for aerodynamics and engine cooling as the vehicle uses a 1.4 petrol unit to recharge the battery packs and extend the vehicle range.

  18. Paris Hilton
    Paris Hilton

    I like electric cars...

    I haven't been able to find a hair drier to fit my regular car now they are mains voltage I'm sure it wont be long.

  19. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: There hasn't been a decent american car yet

    FreeTard Posted Friday 20th February 2009 09:20 GMT

    "....but there hasn't been a proper handling Merkin car ever, apart from very expensive ones that is..." Ever heard of the original Ford Mustang? It was quite popular over here in Europe due to it being relatively cheap, reliable, and a cruiser that could also handle very well for its day. For a more modern example, you may want to consider that both the BMW Z3 and Z4 are from the US design arms of BMW.

    ".... None of their "trucks" (4x4's) go offroad without falling off....." You seem to have forgotten that the original Willys Jeep was an American product and much, much better than anything produced by Europe for many yearrs after. The more recent Jeeps are also very capable, with the Wrangler still being one of the few vehicles I would consider taking seriously off-road rather than my default choice of a good Landie V8. In fact, outside of Landrover, it is very hard to find any European 4x4 which is not really a soft-roader at best.

    The sheer size of the US market allowed US car manufacturers for years to develop cars only for that market. Cheaper, smaller and more efficient imports from Japan changed that, not European cars. What has happened in Europe for many years has been a gradual upcreep in the size and weight of our designs to an almost common global size. The recent economic impact is pushing us to smaller and more efficient cars but the same is happening across the Atlantic. I wouldn't write off the US car industry just yet.

    Whilst bashing Merkins seems to keep a large chunk of the UK populance feeling smugly superior, you may also want to stop and consider that the PC you're tryping on and the OS it is running are almost certainly products using technologies developed by Merkin companies. Ditto your fridge, microwave, TV....

  20. Peyton

    styling sorted out?

    That part struck me as funny... we get made fun of for being somewhat vehicle-obsessed over here, what with not wanting to drive small cars, or cars with aerodynamics put before styling... Yet when these American eyes look at the two versions, I see nearly the same car. Do you guys really want to run screaming from the first version, but are ready to take the second for a spin?

    I ask because, as a taxpayer, I am now more directly funding the focus-group research that probably went into this extra design effort :p

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ Matt Bryant

    The microwave and the TV are of course BRITISH INVENTIONS.

  22. greg
    Thumb Up

    Looks sexy

    Kinda reminds me of a new shape Civic, but I still like the styling!

    Beats the shit out of all the other leccy/hybrid/fuel cell cars I've seen thus far.

  23. Mike Richards

    @ Keiran

    'I don't think it's possible for any car to look good in white.'

    An Aston Martin looks good in any colour. (And for that whol-hearted endorsement of their products I will be willing to accept an Aston in white)

  24. Andy Barber

    @ Stike Vomit

    I prefer a chauffeur driven Dennis, Scannia or Volvo bus, or a Bombardier Tram. (Tramlink is very good!)

  25. Richard Porter
    Thumb Down

    Just looks big and bulky.

    Only Chrysler could have made it look worse. Why the big grille on a leccy car?

  26. neil

    What a load or carp!

    "You seem to have forgotten that the original Willys Jeep was an American product and much, much better than anything produced by Europe for many yearrs after".

    Err, the Willys Jeep was a Morris design, so it was British!

    As to any of these displaced pollution (mains charged) and enhanced pollution (due to build and disposal factors, not 'fuel consumption') vehicles, you can keep them, my 25 year old 110 Land-Rover beats the lot of them hands down by comparason!

  27. Doug Bostrom
    Thumb Up


    Looks a little less like the Batmobile. I've been struggling with the idea of wearing a vinyl cape and tool belt just to go fetch some groceries.

  28. Rod Shoaf

    @Stike Vomit

    The microwave and the TV are of course BRITISH INVENTIONS. Yes and the auto is a German one as well.. However it took American know how to make them affordable.

    I hate bashing of US cars.. yes a lot of them are crap.. but we have a HUGE selection (The new Mustangs are hands down incredible and very affordable) and let us not forget the wonderful quality of English cars in the 70s and 80s.. Jags and Rolls had wonderful reputations for fix almost daily and costing a small fortune to maintain.

  29. Rod Shoaf


    "Err, the Willys Jeep was a Morris design, so it was British!"

    The Willy's was designed by the American Bantam Corporation.. An American company.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ Stike Vomit

    You said... <<< The microwave and the TV are of course BRITISH INVENTIONS. >>>

    The first patent for a microwave oven was issued to Raytheon Corp by the US Patent Office in 1945... The first commercial model, called a RadarRange was built in 1947, weighed 750 pounds, and sold for $5,000.

    There were many people involved in the development of television, including a German university student in 1884, but an AMERICAN is credited with developing the first practical application for electronic television, although a Scottish engineer developed a mechanical (?) television several years before. I'd love to see how a mechanical television would work...

    Paris... cos she loves to be on television

  31. DRendar

    Lovely, now I want to know...


    All you see anywhere are the MPG figures for doing 500 miles with a full tank of petrol and the batteries freshly charged.

    Also, how long till they put a proper (read: Diesel) generator in there? We Euro's aren't backwards in our attitudes to diesel like they are over the pond.

  32. DRendar

    And American Seats are more comfy....

    Because they're designed for people weighing 300pounds.

    Ooooh. Too easy?

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