Vauxhall makes extended-range car

The Vauxhall Ampera passed an important milestone last Friday, when the first pre-production extended-range electric vehicle rolled off the line at GM’s Pre-Production Operations assembly line in Warren, Michigan.

More validation Amperas will be built in coming months and will be used by engineers in Europe and the US for testing.

According to the company, the focus will be on developing the final vehicle software and controls, fine tuning the vehicles’ driving characteristics and performing safety and structural integrity testing.

The extended-range electric vehicle is scheduled to be in UK showrooms by early 2012.

The Ampera is said to deliver up to 40 miles of electric driving before an engine generator kicks in to sustain the battery charge and extend the range to more than 300 miles. The battery can be charged by plugging the vehicle’s on-board charge system into a standard household outlet.