Opel plans 'electric' successor to Ampera plug-in hybrid

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FRANKFURT -- General Motors' Opel subsidiary said it is working on an "electric" successor to the Ampera, a plug-in hybrid based on the Chevrolet Volt which hit European showrooms in 2011 but will be discontinued.

"We will definitely introduce a successor product in the electric vehicle segment and continue to defend our position as an innovation leader," Opel said in a statement on Wednesday.

"We see electric mobility as an important part of mobility and we will continue to drive down costs and deliver affordability," Opel further said.

Karl-Thomas Neumann, Opel chairman and president of GM Europe, also disclosed the plans in several Twitter postings on Wednesday.

The model will be launched between 2014 and 2018, Opel said, declining to give further details. GM's Vauxhall subsidiary in Great Britain also markets the Ampera.

GM has decided not to offer the Ampera after the Volt is redesigned for the U.S. market for the 2016 model year, Automotive News first reported earlier this week, citing sources familiar with the plans.

The current Volt and Ampera are built in the same plant in Detroit-Hamtramck, Mich.

The Ampera, which was voted European Car of the Year in 2012, is priced at 38,620 euros ($52,000).

The current Ampera can travel more than 500 km on a single charge, giving it a greater operating range than the 190 km offered by BMW's i3 electric car, which is being delivered to customers this year.

Automotive News sister publication Automobilwoche reported in April that Opel plans to add a full-electric car to its lineup by 2016 or 2017.

The EV, which goes by the project name BEV (short for battery electric vehicle), will be much smaller and cheaper than the Ampera, Automobilwoche reported.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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