How's that for fast? Hot on the heels of the first computer renderings of the Opel Ampera, we've got actual spy photos of the car, captured during a closed video shoot just prior to its debut in Geneva next month.
Design sketches of the Ampera, which is the European-market version of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, leaked to the web just yesterday. The Ampera prototype caught in photos looks production-ready and it's possible this white car is in the process of being shot for the press kit. The styling, a blending of the Insignia sedan and Flextreme concept car, is clearly similar to that of the computer-rendered drawing, though the actual car shows a deeper chin spoiler and a taller body than the design sketch. While the car in the sketches looks like a four-door sedan, the production Ampera will be a five-door.
The Ampera is scheduled to go on sale in 2011, and shares GM's "Voltec" plug-in hybrid system that's set to be introduced in the Chevrolet Volt. Propulsion is provided by a full-time electric motor, with a small gasoline engine/generator aboard to charge the lithium-ion batteries when needed. GM says that the Voltec system will propel the Volt and Ampera up to forty miles (65 km) on a single charge. The engine/generator increases the range to about 500 miles (800 km). Recharging is expected to take 2-3 hours from a standard 230-volt European outlet.
The Ampera makes its official debut at GM's Geneva press conference on March 3.