20120308083431931 The Opel Ampera and the Chevrolet Volt have won the “Car of the Year 2012” award. By handing victory to the revolutionary electric vehicles, the panel of judges, made up of 59 leading automotive journalists from 23 European nations, paid tribute to General Motor’s innovative foresight.

The Opel Ampera / Chevrolet Volt were the undisputed winners with 330 points against VW Up (281) and Ford Focus (256). For the first time in the history of the prize, the final selection was made in the context of the Geneva international motor show. The Opel/Vauxhall CEO, Karl-Friedrich Stracke, and Chevrolet’s President and Managing Director for Europe, Susan Docherty (above picture), were both handed the “Car of the Year 2012” award by the President of the COTY judging panel, Hakan Matson.

The Ampera and the Volt emerged as the joint overall winner in a field of seven COTY finalists. Initially, 35 recently launched vehicles entered the contest. The selection criteria applied by the judges were based on attributes such as design, comfort, performance and especially innovative technologies as well as efficiency – areas where the Ampera and the Volt excel.

“It is a proud moment for us and an honor to receive this award from Europe’s leading jury of automotive journalists,” Docherty commented. “Our car demonstrates that electric driving can be fun and reliable without ever compromising the owners’ lifestyle.”

The Ampera and the Volt are the first electric vehicles in the market that can go anywhere anytime. A 16 kWh lithium ion battery powers the 111kW/150 hp electric motor. Depending on the style of driving and road conditions, distance of between 40 and 80 kilometers can be covered in the purely battery-operated mode, completely free of emissions. The wheels of the car are always powered electrically. In extended-range mode, which activates whenever the battery has reached its minimum state of charge, the gasoline engine drives a generator that supplies the electric drive unit. The range extender enables an operating radius of 500 kilometers.

By Chevrolet Europe