RUESSELSHEIM – Opel/Vauxhall will not offer an electric version of its Junior entry-level minicar.
The program, known internally as Junior BEV S-04404, has been canceled because of the "excessively high additional investment," according to company documents obtained by Automotive News Europe.
The move means that Opel will not have a battery-powered minicar to complete with EVs from rivals such as the Peugeot iOn, Citroen C-Zero and the upcoming Volkswagen E-Up.
Opel confirmed to Automotive News Europe that the Junior BEV has been taken out of the company's future produect lineup. "We will launch a pure battery electric vehicle (BEV), but we will postpone the Junior BEV until further notice," a company spokesperson said. "At the same time, we will analyze the market opportunities for pure battery electric vehicles very carefully."
The spokesperson said the compnay believes it has a key advantage in electric cars with the Opel Ampera, a version of the Volt plug-in hybrid built by sister brand Chevrolet.
The Volt and Ampera have a range of 500km, 10 times that of pure electric cars, because they have a small gasoline engine that powers an electric generator to extend the vehicle's range.
"We will expand the concept of the range extender to play off this competitive advantage", the spokesperson said.
Automotive News Europe also has learned that Opel's supervisory board will discuss the company's electric vehicle strategy again in November.
Opel plans to make being environmentally friendly a priority by pursuing an alternative-powertrain strategy that includes electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles.