Not just a tax break

* Beginning of end for petrol and diesel? * Vauxhall's electric car on sale by 2012 * Range of 310 miles and 176mpg...

16 April 2009
Not just a tax break

Outwardly, it's a sleekly styled, but perfectly conventional, mid-sized hatchback. Delve beyond the obvious, however, and you'll discover that it's refuelled from the same electrical socket you'd plug your kettle or fridge into, and costs less than a cup of coffee to recharge.

The Ampera is an electric car powered by GM's Voltec drive system but it's certainly not the kind of tax-avoidance, park-for-free minimalist contraption many people think of when the subject of electric cars crops up.

It's big enough for a family of four and their luggage, supposedly meets crash-test requirements anywhere in the world and is said to be capable of cruising at 100mph and accelerating from 0-60mph in nine seconds.