By Hendrik Varnholt
BOCHUM, Germany--Opel AG, the German arm of General Motors Co.(GM), will launch production of Opel's first all-electric car in 2017, a variant of the Chevy Bolt, GM Chief Executive Mary Barra said Thursday.
Opel said it would provide information on pricing and driving range at a later date. In the U.S., however, GM has said the Bolt would be priced at roughly $38,000 and have a range of about 200 miles.
"The new Opel Ampera-e will open the road to electric mobility by breaking down the barriers of high price and short driving range," said Opel head Karl-Thomas Neumann at an auto symposium in Bochum.
Although the major German car makers offer hybrid and electric cars, domestic demand has been sluggish. Officially, the country aims to put 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020, a questionable goal considering there were just 30,000 at the end of 2015.
Car makers and the government have discussed various ideas on how to stimulate demand, including offering cash incentives and setting up more charging stations, but have yet to agree to a plan.
Opel, part of GM Europe along with its sister company Vauxhall, stopped production of the Ampera-e's hybrid predecessor in 2014. Including Vauxhall, Opel delivered 1.1 million cars in 2015 and had a European market share of 5.8%.
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