General Motors' Adam Opel division is reporting that it may get as many as 15,000 Volt-based Amperas to sell in Europe for its first year instead of a previously reported 10,000.

According to an interview with Wards Auto, Alain Visser, vice president-sales, marketing and aftersales for Europe, the company was initially supposed to get just 8,000 Amperas. Popular demand however – and sufficient capacity at Detroit Hamtramck to fill it – may see GM shipping more of the still-American-made cars.

“We’ve got over 6,000 reservations, which is way above what we anticipated,” Visser said of a program in which someone can reserve an Ampera online with a E150 (approximately $209) deposit. “We obviously have very direct discussions with Detroit. Our current indications are we have the capacity from a global point of view to fulfill [demand for the Ampera]. So we are OK.”

Somewhere between 10,000-15,000 Opel Amperas will be sent to Europe. It was recently named 2012 Car of the Year in Denmark.

As we covered the other day-e , Opel is evaluating other EVs, has a three-prong electrification strategy, and wants to lead its market.

“I think it is a really big step here in Europe, because there are a lot of manufacturers talking about e-mobility ... but we [are] the only one with an electric vehicle with no range limitation that is actually on sale today and not a concept car,” he told Wards Auto. “It’s a massive opportunity for the Opel brand.”

WardAuto data indicates Opel's light-vehicle market penetration grew to 5.1 percent through August, up from 4.8 percent the year prior. Citing its improved position, and sounding a little like he's taking a cue from VW and other proud automakers in his country, Visser said the company sees potential marketing opportunities there.

“We want to position ourselves more and more as the German brand, combining the German substance of quality and technology with emotion,” he said, “That’s why design is becoming so important for the Opel brand. The fact that our market share is going up is confirmation we’re on the right path, and we plan to increase and strengthen our position even more in 2012, including growing market share.”

Unknown is if or when GM would set up European production of the Ampera or other e-vehicles. Also in question is the degree to which hydrogen power will eventually play in GM’s electrification strategy, but we know it is being considered as part of the company's long-term plan.

Is it therefore possible EREVs and EVs are to be a stop-gap measure for a decade or more? Will they only be a limited fraction of the global vehicle pie indefinitely? We have no proof this will be the case, but Opel has spoken of hydrogen vehicles' inclusion, and GM is still working on them.

While GM's hydrogen info pipeline may be kind of dry these days, Opel has already gone on record saying what its policy is at this juncture.

“Batteries have a relatively low energy density, so we believe a pure battery-powered car is primarily suited for use in urban areas where limited ranges are sufficient,” said Dr. Lars Peter Thiesen, Manager Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Deployment Strategy.

Part one of Opel's e-mobility solution for its "complete range of electric vehicles" is the short-range EVs. Part two is the Ampera and future extended-range models which are seen as more versatile and providing no range anxiety. Opel is also holding out hope for future developments of cost-effective hydrogen fuel cell vehicles “with no restrictions on vehicle size or use.”

RAK-e concept.

At the moment GM is emphasizing what it has for sale in the near term – extended-range models and soon-to-be EVs. If hydrogen can be made feasible, no doubt Opel – and GM – would like to be a leader in that technology as well.

But really, anything could happen between now and when or if hydrogen power can be made cost effective. In the meantime, it is not even clear when Opel EVs will become available.

Visser did not add any more fuel to the rumor that the Spark EV might be re-badged as an Opel, and spoke less definitively about the RAK-e concept's production potential than he did recently with Automotive News.

“Reaction to that vehicle was overwhelming and extremely positive,” Visser said of the all-electric lightweight tandem two-seater. “It is not impossible, but it is not at all decided. It is something we would like to start studying, particularly given the positive feedback of the Frankfurt show.”

Wards Auto