Unboxing a Vauxhall Ampera – #GoUltraLow. Technology vloggers often do ‘unboxing’ videos of their latest electrical gadget to take you around the new device and show you how it works, so I thought I’d do an ‘unboxing’ with my new electric car!*
This beautiful Vauxhall Ampera is on loan to me for 6 weeks as part of the #GoUltraLow blogger campaign which aims to bust widely held myths about electric cars. The Go Ultra Low campaign helps motorists understand the benefits, cost savings and performance features of the wide range of ultra low emission vehicles available today, including electric, plug-in hybrid and extended range vehicles. The campaign was launched by Nick Clegg and is backed by leading car manufactures BMW, Nissan, Renault, Toyota and Vauxhall. Five bloggers are testing five vehicles, and I got the Vauxhall Ampera!
Because it is an electric car, I had to have a charging station installed at home. The installation took a whole afternoon and the unit was installed in our garage, but the cables had to be fed through the house, rather than taking an electric feed straight from an existing cable. The electric feed for the car is kept separate to the feed for the rest of the house so that firstly, if anything goes wrong with the car charging, it doesn’t affect the rest of the house. But also so that the amount of electrical draw from the wall mounted unit provides a constant rate of electricity to charge the car. A full charge can be done in under 4 hours from the dedicated charge unit, whereas a charge from a normal domestic 3 pin plug would take approx 6 hours. You do get a 3 pin plug charging cable with the car, so if you are away from home and need to charge the vehicle you can. I have also got a card from Ecotricity which means I have joined their ‘electric highway’ so I can charge the car at the charging areas situated at Welcome Break’s network of motorway services.
British Gas provided the charging unit free of charge due to a government subsidised funding scheme that runs to 31st March 2015.
The lovely Harvey from Vauxhall showed me around the car and how it all works. Watch this video to see the futuristic dashboard, the features of the car and all my questions!
So far I’ve done the school run in the car and local journeys, basically only trips that mean I’ve been able to charge the car at home when I’ve needed to, but I have some longer trips planned that I’ll cover in my next two posts. I’ll let you know how I get on and talk more about the running costs and range of the vehicle and what I’ve learned on the trial.
Our first impressions are so far, so good however I have only done school runs and short journeys to this point. The car is more attractive than I thought it would be so that is a plus. I also love how quiet it is when it is running. It is very peaceful! The question that I’ve been asked most by my school run mum friends is ‘does it have speed / power to it?’ They have the perception that an electric car is a little like a Sinclair C5 or a golf buggy, but I can confidently say that it pulls away with as much power and control as you’d get in a petrol car, and it definitely has strength under the bonnet. The only thing that I keep doing out of habit is reaching for my gearstick to go from 1st gear to 2nd, but this car is an automatic, so once it is put in ‘Drive’, I don’t need to do anything else!
Next time I will tell you how it fared on a longer journey, as we have a weekend break planned, but until then, for more information about the cost savings, performance and benefits of ultra low emission vehicles, visit the Go Ultra Low website
*Alas I wish it was my new car but it is actually on loan so I can review it for this blog. It has to go back after 6 weeks but during that time a girl can dream, right?!
Disclosure: This Vauxhall Ampera is on loan to us for 6 weeks so that we can test how it fits into our lives and I can report back with my honest opinions as part of the #GoUltraLow campaign.