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GM hints Ampera production could come to UK

The Vauxhall Ampera could be the next pioneering electric car heading for production in the UK, a General Motors (GM) chief has hinted. The range-extended electric car could be set to make Ellesmere Port the home of its European production, an article in The Times suggests. Based on the Chevrolet Volt, the Ampera could start production in the UK by 2013. Speaking to publication, Nick Reilly, chief executive of General Motors Europe, said: “The chances are quite good that the Ampera will come to Ellesmere Port as it is close in production terms to the Astra and will share many components.”Vauxhall Ampera 2010 The news follows Nissan’s announcement last week, that its plant in Sunderland is set to produce its all-electric LEAF model, dubbed ‘the world’s first affordable electric car’. Ford too, announced last week, that it is to invest £1.5 billion in its four UK facilities to allow them to research, design and produce cleaner, greener petrol and diesel engines. He added that production could start in 2013 and reach 50,000 cars a year. Using lithium-ion batteries, the Ampera can drive for up to 40 miles on electric power alone, but has a back-up combustion engine to boost the range to around 350 miles. Fully rechargeable, the Ampera has a top speed of 120mph and a charge time of around three hours. For the new electric model to make the UK its home, “the conditions must be favourable”, Mr Reilly told the newspaper. “If there is no incentivisation, you would be more likely to go where the incentives might be, like Spain or elsewhere.” The Government has already announced it will introduce grants up to £5,000 available to buyers of electric vehicles in Britain. However, Mr Reilly told The Times that incentives would need to be extended to fleet buyers. He said that there was already interest from fleet buyers for 1,000 of the cars at a time but they would have to be encouraged by government subsidy. He that the development of Britain as a centre for green motoring production would need to be backed up with support encouraging suppliers of parts to manufacture in Britain. “There will need to be tax incentives and research grants to get suppliers to set up in Britain,” he said.

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Faye Sunderland

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