The Opel Ampera’s price has been marked down by just over $10,000, it received another award last week in Frankfurt, and unknown is the outcome of the LG Chem factory shut down.

Opel Price

The German car imported from Detroit saw its entry level MSRP cut to 38,300 euros ($50,965) (RRP incl. VAT in Germany), a reduction of 7,600 euros ($10,113).


 

The price reduction is greater than the $5,000 U.S. and Canadian reductions for the Volt. It is actually a German-specific price, and Ampera is sold in a number of markets where the price is reduced also, but Opel did not say specifically by how much.

"The Opel Ampera was the first electric car on the market from a European manufacturer. With our new pricing, we show our straightforwardness and continue to pursue our strategy for sustainable mobility,” said Opel CEO. Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. “We at Opel remain committed to investing in electric propulsion and believe in an emission-free automotive future – not in the future, but today."

Opel Award

On Friday Opel announced from the Frankfurt auto show the Ampera was chosen by over 13,000 readers of Auto Bild and Auto Test over 15 competitors as the "best overall concept" among the "first evergreens" of electric mobility.

The initiators of the "eCar Award," editors-in-chief Bernd Wieland (Auto Bild) and Olaf Schilling (Auto Test), congratulated Opel CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann on this success.


 

"The trendsetting propulsion concept of our Ampera was convincing from the very start," said Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann at the award ceremony. "The fact that the Ampera is now already regarded as an 'evergreen' and the readers have selected it as the best overall concept shows us that the technology combining electric drive and a range extender is not only well received, but also that it has proven itself in real-world mobility."

Volt Battery Plant

As many of you likely know by now, LG Chem closed down its battery plant in Holland, Mich. where the Volt’s battery is made in the wake of an EPA investigation.

The estimated six-week or so shutdown was LG Chem’s choice during the week ending Sept. 6 and came less than a couple of months after the EPA subpoenaed the Korean company for a list of the chemicals it's using.

The name of a particular chemical not registered with the feds was not disclosed as it’s proprietary. The EPA’s subpoena actually was issued in July right around the time of LG Chem’s beginning production after along delay.


 

LG company spokesman Jeremy Hagemeyer told local news channel 24 Hour News 8 that the chemical was used in “very small volumes” and it will not lay off workers as it otherwise halts production.

"Our manufacturing facility is a very safe workplace and our products are both safe and environmentally responsible. Our plan is to comply with the needs of the registration process and resume production as soon as possible," Hagemeyer wrote in an email to 24 Hour News 8.

A degree of criticism has been levied by Internet commenters, and some news reports, as earlier this year LG Chem had to repay the government $842,000 for workers paid to do nothing as the company received taxpayer funds.

The entire project has received scrutiny as a federal-backed green energy project. The plant was built in part with a $151 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The president broke the ground for it in July 2010 and initial plans were for production to begin by mid-2012.

It remains to be seen whether the shutdown will adversely affect Volt sales in the short term.

The Korea IT Times reported not only has LG Chem's stock price been "going strong" through this U.S. shutdown, it will work around the temporary hold-up.

"LG Chem was going to ship the batteries produced in the Michigan plant to GM for the hybrid electric car Chevrolet Volt," said Yoon Jae-sung, analyst with Daeshin Securities. "Instead, it will deliver the batteries directly from the Ochang plant in Korea."