General Motors Co.'s European unit will sell the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera -- a rebadged Chevrolet Volt -- for 42,900 euros (about $58,600), significantly more than the $41,000 price of a Volt in the United States.
Opel sales and marketing boss Alain Visser justified the higher price by saying the Ampera will come with high-quality features.
“We have compromised on nothing. The Ampera is a beautiful car that is as fun to drive as it is packed with premium content,” he said in a statement.
Opel listed Bose speakers and touchscreen monitors as examples of premium content in the Ampera.
The company said it has started taking reservations for the Ampera. Deliveries will begin in October 2011.
The Ampera will be built alongside the Volt at GM's U.S. factory in Warren, Michigan. It shares the Volt's technology but has styling changes such as Opel's bold-looking grille.
Opel said it will not offer buyers the opportunity to purchase the Ampera at a lower cost while leasing the car's expensive battery pack, a retail model that some other automakers are using to bring the sticker prices of their EVs in line with conventionally powered cars.
"Leasing the battery pack makes an EV's price appear attractive because the battery leasing rate is not highlighted but battery leases are paid monthly for several years, so the total cost is roughly the same as a car whose total price includes both the car and the battery," Opel said.
As with the Volt in the United States, Ampera buyers will be eligible for government subsidies in some European markets.
Opel said the Ampera will be powered by electricity at all times. For the first 40km to 80 km (25 to 50 miles), power for the drivetrain comes from electricity stored in the 16-kilowatt hour lithium ion battery pack and the car has zero emissions. For longer trips a gasoline-fueled engine/generator sustains the battery charge and extends the driving range to 500km (300 miles).
Opel said most Amperas are likely to be driven in battery mode nearly all the time because the battery can be re-charged quickly in about three hours from standard electricity outlet and research shows that about 80 percent of Europeans drive less than 60km a day.