When Chevrolet showed off the original Volt concept car (above) it looked tough and muscle-y, despite its green cred. Petrolheads wanted to see the radically-styled, long-hood / short deck, chopped roof, and broad-shouldered machine get built – and (gasp!) environmentalists wanted it to get built, too. It seemed like the unified field theory of automotive design.
The production Volt / Ampera twins, of course, look … like this.
According to British car site Autocar, that space-egg shape will soon be a thing of the past. Come 2015, the next-generation cars will hit the road with radically-styled sheet metal that’s no longer be limited by the constraints of the Chevrolet Cruze platform on which the first-gen cars are built (and in a short time, following GM’s government bailout).
Opel’s Ampera has proven to be a hot seller in the UK and across Europe, with most of the company’s 2012 allocation of cars already spoken for. Opel CEO Nick Reilly describes the sales “split” as something like “75 per cent in favour of fleet customers. It’s proving popular with companies, rental firms and government departments who are eager to tap into its green credentials without being limited on range.”
Reilly also revealed that the Ampera’s powertrain is scalable to fit other models, prompting speculation that a full range of Volt / Ampera models could eventually be launched, with manufacturing of some of these eventually moved from the US to the company’s own factories in Germany.
Beyond new models (Hybrid-amino Nation!) the 2015+ Volt / Ampera familiy will also cost less than today’s Volt models, with insider estimates suggesting that the cost to manufacture the cars’ pricey battery-packs will be halved by the time the rubber hits the road.