Chevrolet Volt named European Car of the Year

5 Mar 2012

The 2012 Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle, pictured on display at Global Green USA's pre-Oscar party on 22 February 2012 last in LA. The Chevy Volt was the featured green car of the event. Image credit:

Automotive journalists from 23 countries have today named the all-electric Chevrolet Volt, which is sold in Europe under the Opel Ampera name, as European Car of the Year.

The Chevvy Volt / Opel Ampera was announced as Car of the Year by the journalists in Palexpo today, just ahead of the 82th Geneva Motor Show, which is kicking off on 8 March.

The Volt edged ahead of the Volkswagen Up! and the Ford Focus to take the top spot. The other finalists were the Fiat Panda, the Toyota Yaris, the Range Rover Evoque and the Citroën DS5.

GM is halting production of the Volt for five weeks

Interestingly, General Motors announced in the US just a few days ago that it would be temporarily suspending production of the Chevrolet Volt for five weeks, due to disappointing sales of the electric vehicle. Stateside.

GM said last Friday that the automaker would be suspending production of the Volt from 19 March until 23 April 2012 at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.

Last year, GM sold around 7,671 Chevrolet Volts in the US. Its target had been to sell 10,000 Volts. In the US, the Volt will set you back around US$41,000 before a US tax credit of up to US$7,500.

According to GM, the Volt is unique among electric vehicles because the car draws upon two sources of energy. The Volt has a lithium-ion battery so people can drive for 35 miles without using petrol. As well as this the Volt has on-board generator that produces electricity so drivers of the car can carry on for an extra 375 additional miles on a full tank.

In Europe, Opel has already got 7,000 orders for the Opel Ampera version of the Volt, Opel confirmed today.

“We are extremely pleased with the continuing demand for our Ampera,” said Enno Fuchs, Opel’s e-mobility launch director. “This news shows us that our sales target of 10,000 units for 2012 is well within reach.”

Opel said that the Ampera’s 16kWh lithium-ion battery pack feeds an advanced, 111kW/150 hp electric drive unit, which can deliver between 40 and 80km of pure electric operation with zero emissions when fully charged. It said this electric propulsion depends on the terrain, driving technique and temperature.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic