By Jean-Charles Jacquemin
 

As the readers of GM-Volt.com can easily imagine, I could repeat and confirm what my predecessors have so well written before. So I’ll not comment a lot on the driving fun, the comfort of the ride, the silence, all the technology that make you feel when you reluctantly take your other ICE vehicle that you are returning back in prehistory, the absence of any kind of range anxiety, your contribution to less oil dependence and a better collective health.


The best of it

 
What has been best for me during those last weeks since I drive my Ampera and still is, are mainly the facts that:

- I do best than the Audis and BMWs in the roundabouts and, more generally, in urban traffic, their drivers don’t like it at all …

- I show my students and researchers what a better future mobility could be. To their surprise, I let them drive my Ampera to convince them and they are still speaking about the experience two weeks after,

- I speak about it to my colleagues, friends and interested neighbors and also I let them have a ride and drive it to really feel the difference

- and, the best of it, I may leave my house and come back without my neighbors knowing it.
So life has been very interesting and instructive since I received the keys of my Ampera.

The picture below is my first vision of my Ampera, arriving in my Opel garage driven by the dealer.


 

Some surprises too

 
First, I’m convinced that all the fuss about the danger of the silent drive for pedestrians with riding at low speed is much ado about nothing. Never, even in crowded streets, had I to brake violently to avoid one, really if you drive with an attention to pedestrians and cyclists, there is no problem at all.

Second, the original charging cord supplied with the car is very sensitive to the type of electric current it receives, I was unable to charge at a friend’s home because the charging cord didn’t find the good tension and ... even if the son of the house is electrician and checked all the power outlets which were, on belief of his instruments readings, OK. My charging station works fine at around 14.95 A. I get a better mileage for a full charge with it (68 km) than with the original charging cord at 5A for which I got 62 km for a full charge.

The second picture shows my charging station with its cable, the screen of the station is a subcounter linked to my smartphone to pilot the station and to the internet to archive the history of charging my Ampera. It has also a subcounter for the cost of the charge based on the current electricity rates.



 

Third, Opel was not very efficient - as I related in some comments in April – when I was waiting to get my Ampera. I must say they made a commercial gesture to compensate for the inconvenience by offering me some accessories like the luggage net, the hard cargo liner for trunk protection, the sun-shade windshield, and the charge cord bag. The last three items are very useful and I recommend them.

Fourth, and without doubt the most important for me, my driving style has completely changed. As the Volt or the Ampera is conceived to make you aware of your energy consumption, I surprised myself to give me a challenge to get a 100-percent driving efficiency on every trip and I often succeed. So that often I get more than 70 km on a full charge even in difficult terrain. It is now a challenge between my wife and me to get the higher mileage on a full charge or on a trip.

Fifth, usually I have to drive in heavy, often stop and go traffic. Before with my previous ICE cars, I returned home tired and stressed. Nothing like this with the Ampera with its driving easiness, the linearity of its accelerations, the regenerative power of the L position (I run in D only on highways if the traffic is not dense, that is 2 percent of the time) … and the quality of its infotainment system.

And at last, my surprise was that in the HOLD mode, the gas consumption in a long trip is around 4.8l/100km (more or less 50 mpg) with a normal driving style. I often drive in HOLD mode on highways when I know I cannot recharge at my destination to be able to drive in NORMAL mode in town and on the return trip.

Usually as an early adopter of new technologies I’m disappointed about one or another feature of my new purchase. Until now I have nothing to complaint about my Ampera (yes perhaps my own dumbness when it comes to assimilate and apply all the contents of the user’s manual!). I must say I learned a lot on GM-Volt.com and I have nothing extraordinary to tell about the mileage or the technology in different situations (I think all has already been said) except that I have been surprised by the response delay when I accelerate brutally (a very rare situation) in HOLD mode.

I only hope more people could have the opportunity and the pleasure to drive an Ampera or a Volt. For this, its price has to be lower, early adopters like a lot of us may help. It will help the world to diminish its oil dependency.