In today’s press release Opel just confirmed that the electric car Ampera-e will arrive in Europe at a slow pace.
Here we have the press release:
“Rüsselsheim. As the first country in Europe, Norway is kicking off the sales start of the revolutionary Opel Ampera-e today (December 14, 2016). With an electric range of over 500 km (electric range, measured based on New European Driving Cycle in kilometers: >500, preliminary figure), Opel’s electric car goes on sale first in the most mature electric vehicle market in Europe.
As the ramp-up production curve for the Ampera-e will be slow, only a limited volume will be available in the first months. Therefore, a staggered launch plan for Europe markets has been put in place, focusing initially on the markets that have an existing EV infrastructure in place and/or have shown the greatest ambition to populate their streets with electrically-powered vehicles. Following the delivery of the first vehicles in Norway in spring, the next countries in line are Germany, Netherlands, France and Switzerland. Most other European countries will follow in late 2017 or during 2018 as production volume grows.
The choice of Norway as the first market to see the launch of the Ampera-e is easy to explain. Norway is by far the most mature EV market in Europe and will soon already have 100.000 BEVs on the road. Successful policies such as no purchase taxes on EVs, exemption from VAT on purchase and leasing, low annual road tax, no charges on toll roads and ferries, free municipal parking, access to bus lanes and 50 percent reduced company car tax are enticing Norwegians to look to electric vehicles. The electric vehicle share of Norwegian new car sales has been the highest in the world for several years, already reaching 22 percent in 2015 with the EV share in some parts of the country surpassing 30 percent.
“The availability of the Ampera-e will be limited due to a slow ramp-up of production at the Orion plant in Michigan,” said Peter Christian Küspert, Opel Group Vice President Sales & Aftersales. “Therefore, we made a decision to go with a staggered introduction plan going first with the countries that already have some form of EV infrastructure in place or countries that have shown ambition to become EV leaders. This has created the pecking order Norway, Germany, Netherlands, France and Switzerland. However, we are flexible here and will be able to add countries or change the order at short notice if somebody becomes so attractive because of changed policies for example. Our goal is to have enough capacity by 2018 so that we can offer decent volumes in most European countries. Our current plan has the Ampera-e being sold by e‑agents selected from the Opel dealer network in all markets, except Norway where it will be sold throughout the entire Opel dealer network as the Ampera-e will soon be Opel’s bestseller there.”
The Opel Ampera-e redefines electro-mobility with its electric range of over 500 km – at least 100 km of additional range more than its nearest segment rival currently on the road. The combined WLTP range (Worldwide Harmonized Light-Duty Vehicles Test Procedure) is estimated at more than 380 km. Naturally, the range in everyday use will vary and depends on personal driving behavior and on external factors such as the outside temperature or the topography of your respective route.
When customers need to recharge, they can ‘refill’ around 150 km of range in just 30 minutes at a public 50 kW DC fast-charging station (average value, measured based on preliminary NEDC tests).”
In Norway the Ampera-e will be available at every Opel dealership, since the automaker believes it will be its best selling car in that country. The same can’t be said for the rest of the European countries, where this electric car will only be available at select e-agents.
The Norwegian market is clearly the priority, but availability in Germany, Netherlands, France and Switzerland come next, also in 2017. Most other European countries won’t get the Opel Ampera-e before late 2017 or even 2018.
Looking at the bright side, the European countries that get the Opel Ampera-e in late 2017, will get a car in its second model year, with some upgrades added and possible problems ironed out.
In 2018 things will get interesting, with the Tesla Model 3 arrival, I think that GM will sell more Opel Ampera-e in Europe than Chevrolet Bolt EV in the USA. While the opposite will happen to the Tesla Model 3, that should sell better in the USA – that loves big cars – than in Europe, where we tend to prefer the practicality of hatchbacks.
Meanwhile, Renault will be happy to sell the Zoe with the new ZE 40 battery, which first deliveries are about to take place.
What do you think about Opel’s strategy?