The 238-mile 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car should begin deliveries in the coming weeks.

But sales of the Bolt EV's European cousin—the Opel Ampera-e—won't begin until well into the next year.

Because it offers a range of over 200 miles at a mainstream price ($37,495, before federal, state, and local incentives) Chevy has high hopes for the impact of the Bolt EV on the U.S. electric-car market.

DON'T MISS: 2017 Opel Ampera-e (nee Bolt EV) to debut at Paris Motor Show

That optimism is apparently shared at GM's European Opel division as well, albeit in a somewhat more restrained way.

"We are convinced that electrification is the future," Ralph Hannappel—manager of electrification at Opel—said in a recent interview with Dutch vlogger Vincent Everts.

Yet Hannappel only expects electric cars to account for around 15 percent of new-car sales in Europe in 2030.

Opel Ampera-e

Opel Ampera-e

While that would represent a significantly higher share than electric cars currently enjoy, it also makes for a fairly slow ramp up.

Electric cars may eventually comprise the majority of new-car sales, but exactly when that will happen is unclear, Hannappel said.

That's likely not what European regulators want to hear, as they push for greater numbers of electric cars to address air pollution.

ALSO SEE: Opel Ampera-e ad highlights 'fun to drive' aspect of electric cars

The government in Opel's homeland of Germany also believes its domestic auto industry will fall behind if companies don't begin preparing to sell large numbers of electric cars now.

BMW, Daimler, and the Volkswagen Group have all pledged to launch waves of new electric models over the next decade, while General Motors plans to make the Ampera-e the center of its European electric-car strategy, just as its U.S. plans hinge on the Bolt EV.

Announced early this year and unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show in September, the Ampera-e is virtually identical to the Bolt EV.

Opel Ampera-e

Opel Ampera-e

The body, powertrain, and battery pack are the same, and the Ampera-e will be built alongside the Bolt EV in Orion Township, Michigan.

The only difference is the name. It's what's known as "badge-engineering" in the industry.

Note that the Ampera name is recycled from the Opel Ampera (minus the "-e"), a badge-engineered version of the first-generation Chevy Volt.

MORE: BMW, Ford, Mercedes, VW Group to build electric-car fast-charging network in Europe

Like the Bolt EV, the Ampera-e will come equipped for DC fast charging, using the CCS protocol, but Opel executive Hannappel said the automaker had not made a final decision on whether to join a major European charging-infrastructure initiative.

BMW, Daimler, the VW Group's Audi and Porsche brands and Ford recently announced a joint venture to construct CCS DC fast-charging sites along European highways.

The goal is to have a network of 400 sites operational by 2020.

[hat tip: Ad van der Meer]


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