In addition to its multi-award winning status the Vauxhall Ampera recently became the first production car to be driven from the UK to France and back.
The record-breaking journey was envisioned by Top Gear Magazine’s Editor who wanted the publication to be the first to drive a production car through the Channel Tunnel.
It was then up to Dan Read, a reporter on the magazine, to drive the Ampera through the third tunnel, 75 metres below the Channel, which runs between Eurotunnel’s main railway lines and is normally reserved for safety crews operating specially made vehicles.
Although Eurotunnel agreed the use of the tunnel, for safety reasons they insisted that the car could only run on battery power whilst underground, which is not a big problem for any electric car equipped with a range of over 63 miles. In addition to this the journey had to be completed in a vehicle that did not need to refuel or recharge.
Charlie Turner, the Editor-in-Chief of Top Gear magazine said: “We do like a good challenge at Top Gear, especially one involving the English Channel. The telly boys conquered it with an amphibious pickup truck, and now we’ve done it again with the Ampera – our current Green Car of the Year, and probably the most practical take on electric car tech.”
The Ampera began the trip in Hold mode, a function which stops the car using the stored charge in the batteries, instead the small on-board petrol engine is used to generate and supply electricity to power the wheels. Once the Ampera entered the tunnel it was switched to its default position, normal mode, which continues to power the wheels by electricity supplied by the battery. The Vauxhall Ampera managed to complete the challenge and also exceed its established battery range by 10 miles.
“We were confident that the Ampera could pull this record off and were delighted to be able to prove that a skilled driver can beat our maximum battery range estimate by quite some margin.” Vauxhall Ampera Launch Manager, Ian Allen commented; “This epic journey really did once again drive home the fact that the Ampera is the only electric vehicle suitable for all journeys.”
Eurotunnel’s John Keefe was absolutely delighted with the success of the challenge: “It’s great to see car manufacturers making such huge steps in the development of sustainable options for the travelling public. Our Shuttle services run on electricity from low carbon sources, but this is the first time a production car has driven to France and back on one battery charge. I am also pleased that, even though the Ampera broke its distance record for one charge, the Shuttle Service’s unbeatable strengths of speed, ease and reliability ensured that cars that travel by Shuttle still get to France faster! But the really important point is that they all cross the Channel using power from low carbon sources!”
October 17, 2012
Filed under: Vauxhall
Baloney - I'm sure hundreds have cars have driven through the tunnel since it opened - operated by Eurotunnel employees going about their normal business.
October 17, 2012