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Opel hopes owners of the Ampera EV will use clean electricity (Photo: Opel)

Opel is offering Ampera buyers the option to recharge the electric vehicle using electricity from renewable sources.

The German unit of General Motors, which is getting ready to launch the Ampera later this year, said it has agreements with 28 German suppliers of clean electricity to provide a tailored package to Ampera owners. Under the agreement, Ampera buyers will get a 5 pc discount from the standard tariff when they fill their household electricity needs using clean electricity from one of the suppliers.

The packages will help electric vehicles such as the Ampera achieve lower well-to-wheel CO2 emissions. Without clean electricity,an EV that is recharged with, for example, electricity from a coal-fired power station, generates overall CO2 emissions that are only slightly below those of a car with a traditional gasoline or diesel engine.

"We're pleased that our idea of an Ampera discount has met with keen interest from the providers of clean electricity," said Opel board member Alain Visser. He added that the packages on offer will accelerate the introduction of clean energy.

The Ampera is not a full electric vehicle. It has an electric motor that can power the vehicle independently, but it also has a so-called range extender, a gasoline engine that helps extend the car's range beyond the 80 kilometers it can travel in electric mode. GM says total range of the model will be about 500 km.

Opel believes the range extender will make a key difference as it pits the Ampera against electro-motor-only EVs such as Mitsubishi's i-MiEV and Nissan's Leaf, which will have a range of no more than 160 km.