Chevrolet Volt versus Vauxhall Ampera

* Volt and Ampera head-to-head * Cars almost identical * We detail the differences...

Chevrolet Volt versus Vauxhall Ampera

The Chevrolet Volt and Vauxhall Ampera seem to have the best of both worlds.

As electric cars they offer guilt-free eco motoring, but come with none of the range-anxiety issues that other electric cars have, thanks to their range-extending technology.

In both cars a 1.4-litre petrol engine generates electricity for the electric motor. This means you can keep going as long as there's petrol in the tank so they can boast average fuel economy figures of over 200mpg and carbon dioxide emissions of less than 30g/km.

Interested? We really like the Ampera so much so that we crowned it our Green car of the Year last month.

However, the cars are virtually identical Chevrolet and Vauxhall are owned by General Motors. So which one should you choose? There are a few differences that could sway your decision one way or the other.

The two cars might be mechanically identical, but the Chevrolet is actually cheaper. It costs 28,545 (including the maximum 5000 Government grant), while the Ampera starts at 28,995, making the Volt 450 cheaper.

While domestic electricity prices are dependent on what tariff you are on, Chevrolet estimates that to fully charge the Volt at home you will pay about 1. Using the money saved on the list price, you could charge the Volt 450 times and because the car can travel 50 miles on electric power alone, that 450 could equate to 22,500 miles.

Interior and standard equipment
The main point of difference is that the Volt comes with leather seats. The Ampera has a black plastic fascia on the centre console while the Volt's is white.

While full specifications for both cars have yet to be confirmed, our sources indicate that Chevrolet could offer sat-nav as standard.

The drive
The two cars are mechanically identical so there are no differences in how both cars perform, ride and handle.

Read the small print carefully and you will see slight differences in the cars' warranties.

The Ampera comes with Vauxhalls 100,000-mile unlimited-period warranty, while the batteries are covered by a separate eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.

The Volt has a five-year warranty but, like the Ampera, the electric propulsion system is covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.

This is very much down to personal taste. For what it's worth, we think the Ampera looks better because it's a bit more modern and futuristic, while the Chevrolet's looks are a bit more middle-of-the-road.

We'll reserve final judgement until final specifications for both cars are confirmed, but on what we know so far, our heads say the Volt edges this because of its lower list price.

Our hearts, however, think the sharper styling of the Ampera will give it the lead when it comes to convincing buyers to part with their money.

Read more
Chevrolet Volt review
Vauxhall Ampera review
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