Opel Ampera production prototype number one has today received its initial charge of electricity from the newly installed charging station at Opel/Vauxhall’s European headquarters in Rüsselsheim, Germany.
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The extended-range electric vehicle will use this first charge, stored in its 16kWh lithium-ion battery, to drive the initial stage of a 600km journey from the Rüsselsheim HQ to the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland - all without emitting any CO2.

Driving Ampera number one is Opel/Vauxhall Director of Electric Vehicle Implementation, Mr Gherardo Corsini.

"I am really looking forward to putting a lot of miles on our first Ampera prototype during this maiden test on public roads," said Mr Corsini."With 370Nm of instantaneous, electric torque under my right foot, it promises to be an interesting and almost silent drive to Geneva."

When the battery’s charge is low (after around 65km), the Ampera’s petrol engine will kick-in to generate electricity for the remainder of the journey. This bypasses the need of a lengthy stop for recharging.

Series-production of the Opel Ampera is scheduled to begin at the end of 2011.

If you'd like to follow the Opel Ampera's journey online, a live blog will begin this Sunday morning with regular updates about the journey from Rüsselsheim to Geneva. The blog can be found at:

www.opel.posterous.com or twitter.com/opelblogs