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'Groundbreaking' Ampera-e could come to the UK... in RHD

LHD Chevy Bolt/Ampera-e confirmed with 310-miles. Now bring it here, Vauxhall

Despite all the fuss around the VW I.D. and the Tesla Model 3, the first affordable long-range electric car will come from GM. At Paris, the Opel Ampera-e – known as the Chevy Bolt in the USA – was confirmed as having a range of more than 310 miles in the EU cycle, and “about” 240 miles real-world.

“This car could be groundbreaking,” Opel and Vauxhall boss Karl-Thomas Neumann told us at Paris. “The range is clearly ahead of rivals. It’s fun to drive. It’s designed around the batteries as a true electric winner has to be, not an adapted Astra, say.” It will crack the 0-60mph in 7.0 seconds, thanks to a 200bhp motor.

“Then why won’t you sell it to us?” we quite reasonably asked. Ah yes. The Ampera-e is so far planned as an Opel, because its left-hand-drive only.

Britain, with Vauxhall, is GM’s biggest market in Europe. And in Britain far more electric cars are sold overall than in Germany. But we won’t get it because it’s a version of a car designed first and foremost for America. At the moment GM expects to sell all it can build as LHD. Moving the steering wheel costs money and the car was conceived at a time when GM was perilously short of dollars.

Neumann chose his words carefully. He said there’s no decision yet over a right-hand-drive version. “But it’s not off the table. I personally want it and think we need it.” He thinks there will be a demand. “Eventually we will have it in the UK.” But that might mean the next generation.

“We need to have an electric vehicle in the UK and we will do something. We will have other EV models. There will be another global EV architecture,” said Neumann.

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