Opel to swap Ampera-e (aka Bolt EV) for all-electric Corsa model in 2020

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Opel Ampera-e

Opel Ampera-e

It's been six months since General Motors completed the sale of its Opel division in Europe to PSA Group, the French parent of the Citroën, DS, and Peugeot brands.

With the sale came licenses to run out the model life of GM-designed vehicles sold as Opels (and Vauxhalls in the U.K.) while PSA developed successors on its own underpinnings.

Now the electric-car piece of that puzzle has come into clearer focus.

DON'T MISS: Strong demand for Opel Ampera-e in Norway moves up launch date (Feb 2017)

It appears that the Opel Ampera-e battery electric car, essentially a Chevrolet Bolt EV with a different nose and badges, will be replaced in 2020 by an all-electric version of the new generation of Opel Corsa, a B-segment (or subcompact) hatchback.

That's the word from industry trade journal Automotive News (subscription required), which notes that it is one component of PSA's plans to transition away from GM platforms and launch new models using architectures shared with Citroën and Peugeot models.

That car will launch in 2020, one year after the new generation of Corsa arrives at Opel dealers across Europe.

Opel Ampera-e at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Opel Ampera-e at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Opel Ampera-e at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Opel Ampera-e at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Opel Ampera-e at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Opel Ampera-e at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Opel Ampera-e at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Opel Ampera-e at 2016 Paris Motor Show

It will supplant the larger Ampera-e electric car, which launched last year to great enthusiasm in some markets but has since appeared to be in very limited supply, according to numerous complaints by interested buyers.

Just 1,971 units of the Opel Ampera-e were sold throughout Europe, according to JATO Dynamics.

Like the Bolt EV, all Opel Ampera-e electric cars are made at a General Motors assembly plant in Orion, Michigan, and imported into European markets.

WATCH THIS: Opel Ampera-e ad highlights 'fun to drive' aspect of electric cars (Sep 2016)

Following conclusion of a new labor contract with its workers, the electric Corsa will be built alongside the rest of a new Corsa range to be consolidated into a former GM assembly plant in Zaragoza, Spain.

That plant was included in the 2.2 billion-euro  (roughly $2.33 billion) sale of the Opel and Vauxhall brands, factories, and financial operations to PSA, first announced in March 2017. GM had owned Opel since 1929 and Vauxhall since 1925.

2015 Opel Corsa OPC

2015 Opel Corsa OPC

The Corsa was Opel's best-selling model last year, with sales of more than 230,000 units.

The underpinnings of the new Corsa have been designed, PSA said in its announcement, for conventional, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric powertrains.

CHECK OUT: Latest Popemobile is Opel Ampera-e electric car made in Michigan (Jun 2017)

The electric Corsa will be one of four plug-in hybrid or battery-electric Opel models by the end of 2020, the company said.

Since there will clearly be versions of the Corsa, branded as Vauxhalls, sold in the U.K., it seems likely British and Irish buyers will be offered electric Corsas suitable for their roads. The Ampera-e was available only in left-hand-drive.

Longer-range Renault Zoe electric car, introduced at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Longer-range Renault Zoe electric car, introduced at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Longer-range Renault Zoe electric car, introduced at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Longer-range Renault Zoe electric car, introduced at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Longer-range Renault Zoe electric car, introduced at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Longer-range Renault Zoe electric car, introduced at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Longer-range Renault Zoe electric car, introduced at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Longer-range Renault Zoe electric car, introduced at 2016 Paris Motor Show

A battery-electric Corsa would give Opel a direct competitor to the Renault Zoe, Europe's single best-selling plug-in electric car for several years now. The Zoe too is a B-segment hatchback, slightly smaller than the Bolt EV-derived Opel Ampera-e.

On Monday, Renault announced that the 2018 Zoe had received a more powerful 80-kilowatt (107-horsepower) electric motor, up from the previous version's 68-kw (91-hp) unit.

For 2017, the Zoe's battery pack grew to 41 kilowatt-hours, up from 22 kwh in earlier versions, almost doubling its range to 300 to 400 kilometers (185 to 250 miles) on the European test cycle.

 
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