Vauxhall Ampera

Geneva 2009 Spotlights Great Design


Despite the near universal gloom purveyed in the mainstream media, and daily apocalyptica emanating from commentary on the auto industry, the Geneva Motor Show opens its doors to press today. Early dispatches point to a predictably hair-shirt-like attitude in the aether. There are, though, some visually captivating stars dominating the press releases this morning that combine forward-thinking, emissions-reduced driving with the holy grail of consumer-friendly sexiness.

A case in point is the unveiling of GM Europe’s electric vehicle, The Vauxhall Ampera. The Ampera’s exterior design takes up cues from the Flextreme and GTC Concept show cars. For example, it features dramatic, boomerang-like headlights that seamlessly integrate with the lower fog lights. The car has a dynamic, almost aggressive low stance seen most prominently in the front and tail.

Vertical slots in the outboard edges of the rear bumper not only give the car a low sporty look but also play a key role in creating a clean separation feature for the air, supporting the highly efficient aerodynamic performance. Aerodynamics, too, play a particularly important role in maximising driving range. GM engineers and designers worked together to optimise the air flow around the front fascia and outside mirrors of the Ampera.


Significant attention was also given to the rear with a specifically designed spoiler and clean separation features. Lightweight materials were added in the form of clear polycarbonate covers to the front grille and disc inserts on the 17-inch, five-spoke sport alloy wheels. These helped to reduce aerodynamic drag in critical airflow areas.


Detailed technical spec on the propulsion system is as yet unavailable, and it is unclear as to if and when the Ampera will go on sale in the UK. But from a purely aesthetic perspective, the Ampera’s looks to build nicely on the flowing lines and sculptural forms of many of the best Vauxhalls. If electric cars look good, and drive nicely with enough of a practical range, then wouldn’t we all want one?

Watch this space for more daily dispatches from the Geneva Salon.