Opel Ampera-e sets the bar high on electric superminis
The Chevrolet Bolt EV and its twin sister, Opel Ampera-e are getting very good reviews from the people who already drove them. This great electric car surprised everybody with its electric range and efficiency when the EPA figures were released. You can drive 400 km nonstop without trying hard. Then the price announcement in Canada was another good surprise as you can see it here.
The price for Europe is still unknown, but I almost certain that it’ll vary from 35.000 to 40.000 € depending on the trim and the VAT of each country. In France it must be under 40.000 € so it can get the government subsidy in 2017. There is even one Opel’s representative in Portugal that affirms that the price will vary from 30.000 to 35.000 €, but I guess that this would be too good to be true.
We already know that Europeans love superminis as you can see in my previous article here. Finally now we are about to have some really appealing electric superminis available in 2017.
We’ll have the Opel Ampera-e, Renault Zoe ZE 40, facelifted Nissan Leaf, Nissan Micra EV, BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf. Let’s rate them by range:
+ 500 km (NEDC):
- Regarding range the Opel Ampera-e has set the bar high. It will be the electric supermini with the most range by far for a while.
+/- 400 km (NEDC):
- Then we have the Renault-Alliance with three great electric superminis. The Renault Zoe ZE 40, the facelifted Nissan Leaf and the Nissan Micra EV. The Micra EV will share some components with the Renault Zoe and will be built in the same Flins Renault factory in France.
+/- 300 km (NEDC):
- BMW and Volkswagen are clearly lagging behind in terms of range and that’s a big problem for them. Renault and Nissan don’t need to have electric cars with the highest range, since they can compensate lower range with lower price. But this isn’t possible with BMW and Volkswagen cars, since they won’t be priced below a Renault or Nissan car.
BMW and Volkswagen really need to upgrade the batteries again. Unfortunately I don’t see it happening before 2018. Volkswagen is about to start using the new 37 Ah Samsung SDI battery cells, while BMW shouldn’t start using Samsung SDI 120 Ah cells before the opening of the Hungary factory in the second half of 2018.
It’s a bit ironic that Opel is on top while BMW and Volkswagen are at the bottom regarding range.
GM and Renault-Nissan have the opportunity in 2017 to dominate the electric car market and prepare for 2018. In 2018 the PSA group will surprise everybody with a great electric supermini like the Peugeot 208 EV, that with the expected 50 kWh battery and a lower price will be an immediate success in Europe.
What Carlos Ghosn will do with the facelifted Nissan Leaf and the electric version of Nissan Micra Gen5 is still blurry to me.
To me what makes sense is to start selling the facelifted Nissan Leaf with the 41 kWh battery as soon as possible while developing the Nissan Micra EV. When the Nissan Micra EV and its 41 kWh battery are ready, it’s time for the Leaf to finally move to the second generation with a completely restyle and a 60 kWh battery.
The electric version can outsell the gas versions in some places like Norway.
I still think that the IDS concept car should be sold by Nissan’s luxury division, Infiniti, to be an alternative to the Tesla Model 3 in late 2017.
What do you think? Do you see any good alternative to Opel Ampera-e in Europe? What would you prefer, a Nissan Micra EV with a 41 kWh battery or a second generation Nissan Leaf based in the IDS concept with a 60 kWh battery?
Update: this article was revised because I wrongly assumed that the new 37 Ah battery cells would be made by Volkswagen’s current supplier (Panasonic/Sanyo), but instead, these new cells are made by Samsung SDI.