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Electric Car Guide
Electric Vauxhall Ampera awarded top safety rating
The Vauxhall Ampera extended-range electric vehicle has been awarded a five-star safety rating by the independent consumer organisation Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme).
This means that the Ampera is the first electric vehicle from a European manufacturer suitable for everyday use to achieve this result.
The Ampera exceeded the maximum points needed to achieve the top rating in all categories including occupant protection, child safety, pedestrian protection and safety assist. The five-door saloon also turned out top results in the side barrier test, thanks to its combination of solid core body structure, rigid passenger cell and efficient restraint systems.
“It has been a long tradition at Vauxhall/Opel to offer highest possible safety standards, and the Ampera impressively continues our leadership role in safety technology. The Ampera not only meets but exceeds the most stringent requirements for top ratings in each of the Euro NCAP test categories. This is a unique achievement we are very proud of,” says Vauxhall/Opel Chief Executive Officer Karl-Friedrich Stracke.
The Ampera is the first car tested by Euro NCAP to score maximum points in the side pole impact test, mandatory since 2009. In this test, the car is propelled sideways at 18mph into a rigid pole that simulates a tree. Thanks to the outstanding crashworthiness and stiffness of the Ampera’s core body structure, occupants are very well protected. Crash impact protection is provided by an extremely solid passenger cell. It has been designed to ensure the least possible deformation and the largest possible survival space in the event of a crash. To help dissipate high impact forces, the front, sides and rear of the passenger cell are protected by energy absorbing zones that deform in a controlled manner.
The electrical safety of the car was also checked after all the impact tests. The battery pack of the Ampera, comprising 288 cells in nine different modules, is located in the centre of the vehicle, and the vehicle structure is built around it. Thanks to the vehicle structural design, the battery pack is efficiently protected from both front and side crash impacts and remains in its location. While post-crash electric safety aims to achieve zero high voltage current in an emergency, the high voltage battery pack can also be easily disconnected by rescue parties.
After a crash, the Ampera is required to have no electrolyte spilled into the passenger compartment, and no more than seven per cent of the electrolyte can be found outside the passenger compartment and the battery.
Active and passive safety features on the Ampera include:
▪ Standard Four-wheel Anti-lock Braking System, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist and Electronic Stability Control
▪ Eight airbags including front, side, and knee air bags, as well as roof-mounted head-curtain air bags that help protect occupants in a side or rollover crash
▪ Optional rear-view camera system featuring a display integrated into the navigation system screen
▪ An ISOFIX child seat installation system for the rear seating positions
▪ Adjustable head restraints on the front seats which helps provide protection against whiplash injury in the event of a rear-end collision
▪ Collapsible pedal assembly (Pedal Release System) for lower leg protection in a frontal impact.
The Ampera is based on GM’s global compact car architecture, on which the Vauxhall/Opel Astra, another top Euro NCAP ratings winner, is also built.
The Ampera is the first electric vehicle to enable “go anywhere at any time” mobility. The five-door saloon offers space for four adults and their luggage, and will be on the market at the end of the year. A 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack feeds the 150PS electric drive unit. Depending on driving technique, terrain and temperature, it delivers between 25-50 miles of electric operation with zero tailpipe emissions – ample for a vast majority of UK commutes. But thanks to its range-extender, the Ampera can travel for more than 300 miles on electric power without needing to stop at a filling station or to re-charge.
- Paul Clarke