Following the Volt’s prize-garnering lead, this month the Vauxhall Ampera was awarded “Green Car of the Year” by one of the UK’s leading automotive magazines.

The car won’t even be available for ordering until year’s end, but WhatCar? has had its eye on the Volt-based Ampera since the magazine gave the extended-range electric vehicle its prestigious Green Technology Award in 2009.

"The Vauxhall Ampera represents a massive step for alternative-fuel cars,” said What Car? editor-in-chief, Chas Hallett. “It offers all the benefits of owning an electric vehicle with virtually none of the drawbacks. It gives motorists the ability to dramatically reduce their emissions without changing their lifestyle, which is exactly what green cars need to do."

Green Car of the Year Vauxhall Ampera.

The Ampera also earned the top slot in the WhatCar? alternative fuel category over the Nissan Leaf and Renault Fluence electric car.

In a land where cars cost more than in the U.S., and petrol especially costs more, the Ampera’s cost-benefit advantage, and environmental friendliness was not lost on the editors of "Britain's biggest and best car buyer's guide" (as WhatCar? calls itself).

“Demolishing the issue of 'range anxiety' altogether,” said Vauxhall in a press release, “the Ampera's clever Voltec system helps it achieve an incredible 175mpg and combined emissions of below 40g/km, according to official R(EC) 715/2007 regulations for measuring fuel consumption and C02 emissions.”

UK motorists are also reportedly enthusiastic for the 25-50 miles of emissions-free electric driving the Ampera will offer.

Vauxhall said prospective buyers can reserve the Ampera through a program called ePioneers, in which a £150 fee will put their name on one of the imported-from-America cars.

"The Ampera takes Vauxhall into a new era," said Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall's Managing Director. "It can genuinely be considered a car that can perform a full range of family duties, with its four-seats and five-door body. Yet its 100 mph performance and brisk acceleration mean that it can hold its own in the cut and thrust of everyday motoring, unlike many EVs currently on sale."

What Car? Editor-in-Chief Chas Hallet (right) gives Green Car of the Year award to Nick Reilly, president of GM of Europe.

Plans are to release the Ampera in early 2012 for £33,995 (estimated $53,654 U.S. including Value Added Tax).

Vauxhall has said there is already “massive interest” in the vehicle, and is assessing the viability of setting up an assembly plant in the UK at some undetermined point in time.

The decision to do so will be based in part upon initial success sales success and perceived market demand going forward.

What Car? , Vauxhall .