Demand for the Chevy Bolt — known as the Opel Ampera-E in Europe — has exceeded all expectations in Norway. That country is a hotbed of EV activity, thanks to a package of strong government incentives including tax exemptions, free public charging, preferential parking in congested urban areas, and free tolls on some bridges, tunnels, and ferries. Norway has a higher percentage of electric and plug-in hybrid cars on the road than any other country (by far). Right now, sales of EVs account for more than 25% of all new car purchases in the country.
Ever since the Chevy Bolt was announced, interest from Norwegian customers has been high. Stein Pettersen, public relations manager for Opel in Norway, tells local news source Side 3 that several thousand orders for the car have been taken. Although electric cars are popular in the country, most of them have a useful range less than half that offered by the Ampera-E. That extra range is a big selling point. So is the suggested retail price of 299,900 Kroner — equivalent to $36,340. (The Ampera-E is only available in Europe in the fully loaded Premium trim configuration.)
Two option packages are available — the Comfort Package with perforated leather seats, Bose audio, and heated rear seats; and a Driver Assistance Package that adds sign recognition, blind spot warning, and a rear-view camera. A premium paint option is an additional $300.
The good news for Norwegian customers is that the strong demand for the car has convinced General Motors to begin delivering cars to customers in Norway in June. That is fully 3 months before the Chevy Bolt will be available in all 50 US states. The Opel website contains an interesting graphic about how many miles of range can be added for each 30 minutes of charging using various chargers.
Speaking of range, Opel lists the official range for the Ampera-E as 520 kilometers — about 320 miles. But that is using the wildly optimistic New European Driving Cycle test protocol. When the more realistic Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) standard is used, the range comes out to be 232 miles, which is right in line with the EPA rating of 238 miles. No matter how you slice it, it’s a lot more range than any electric car available in the Norwegian market except for the Tesla Model S and Model X, both of which cost twice as much as the Ampera-E or more. (Teslascenti will argue that both are twice the car the Ampera-E is.)
The Opel website goes on to say, “We estimated a combined WLTP range larger than 380 km based on development tests approximated to the speed profile defined in the WLTP driving cycle (shortened test procedure). The WLTP driving cycle is based on real driving profiles and is there the closer two real life than the legally binding New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). However, the range in your everyday use will vary. In practice, factors suchlike as road characteristics, weather conditions, driving style or additional load Influence the range.”
Range calculations vary considerably around the world. The NEDC is useless when it comes to telling drivers what they can expect when they actually drive a car in the real world. The Japanese standard is even worse and the standard China uses is also highly inaccurate. Many car manufacturers would be delighted if the nations of the world could agree on common standards for measuring mileage, fuel economy, and emissions. Some industry officials estimate the cost of cars is 10 to 15 percent higher than it needs to be just because manufacturers must spend so much time and money complying with differing standards. Adopting the WLTP would go a long way towards alleviating that situation.
Source: Side 3
Hat tip: Leif Hansen