FRANKFURT –Europe is joining the - alliance in the belief that electric cars will hold 10% of the global market by 2020.
GM Europe Chairman Nick Reilly tells WardsAuto that EVs could grab up to 15% of the Chinese market by 2020.
“China will lead the way, with Europe next and North America behind,” he says.
Adam Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke says Opel is on track to fulfill its promise to break even this year, before restructuring charges. But Reilly notes no European volume auto maker has turned a profit in Europe for years, and most are focusing instead on other markets.
Opel’s three new launches at Frankfurt are the Zafira Tourer MPV, Combo van and Astra GTC hatchback. Stracke says that by 2014, the auto maker will have spent €11 billion ($15.4 billion) to introduce 30 new models over five years’ time.
Opel’s vision of an electric future begins with the Opel Ampera, a version of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range EV. Built at the Volt factory in Michigan, the first Amperas will cost €48,200 ($66,000) and offer leather, top audio options, a rear camera for parking and other luxury touches.
Deliveries start next year, spokesman Sammy Tawil says.
The Ampera has several features making it more efficient than the Volt, including wheel covers and a different rear end that slightly reduces drag, and a different face, Tawil says.
The basic Ampera will cost €42,900 ($58,900) – €1,000 ($1,370) more than the Volt, which also will be sold in Europe. Reilly sees no problem in both brands selling in Europe, predicting Opel will outsell Chevrolet.
Stracke introduces at the auto show a concept electric 4-wheel scooter designed to compete with theTwizy, saying EV demand “will grow faster than people expect.”
The RAKe (pronounced rack-e), is a 2-seat, fore-and-aft, 4-wheeled EV with a 49-hp electric motor. The RAKe can be speed-limited so 16-year-olds can drive it in Europe, or adjusted for adults at a top speed of 72 mph (120 km/h). It weighs just 792 lbs. (360 kg) and has a 61-mile (100-km ) range.
“The battery can be fully charged on a household current in three hours for €1.00 ($1.37),” designer Mark Adams says. And with a home solar panel, “it could be charged for free.”
Reilly says Opel is trying to keep the cost of the RAKe below €10,000 ($13,700) if it is to be commercialized.
He says that is possible given the 50% decline expected in the price of second-generation lithium-ion batteries.