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Obama promotes electric cars on Portugal visit


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Obama promotes electric cars on Portugal visit

David Shepardson / Detroit News

Washington -- President Barack Obama today checked out an Opel Ampera - the European version of General Motors Co.'s extended-range plug-in electric hybrid that's being built at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

Obama took a break Saturday from NATO meetings in Lisbon, Portugal to check out the European version of the Chevrolet Volt that will go on sale late next year.

He said the Ampera "is another example of GM technology that is going to have great appeal here in Europe," according to a White House pool report. "Our hope is we're going to market this all through Europe," he said.

He touted the car's quiet sound and called it the "future."

'This is a nice looking car," Obama said. He sat in the passenger seat for about three minutes and said "Fire it up" to the man in the driver's seat.

But unlike at his Detroit trip in July to see the Volt at the Detroit-Hamtrack Assembly plant, where he drove the Chevy about 10 feet, Obama didn't drive the Ampera.

But like the Volt, Obama signed the Opel Ampera.

During his presidential campaign, Obama vowed to bring 1 million plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to U.S. roads by 2015.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be touting American cars again on Tuesday when they both visit Chrysler Group LLC's Indiana Transmission II plant in Kokomo, Ind. - the president's fourth trip to a U.S. auto plant this year.

The Volt starts at $41,000; the Ampera will cost about $58,000.

The five-door, four-seat Ampera will offer different trim levels from market to market.

"The Ampera defines a new class of e-mobility. No other electric vehicle provides the freedom of individual transportation as the Opel Ampera," said Alain Visser, vice president of sales, marketing and aftersales at Opel. "We have compromised on nothing. The Ampera is a beautiful car that is as fun to drive as it is packed with premium content." The Ampera carries the DNA of Opel's new design language - a prominent grille, bold Opel badge and daring boomerang headlamps, GM said.

dshepardson@detnews.com

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101120/AUTO01/11200383/Obama-promotes-electric-cars-on-Portugal-visit#ixzz161X5kaUq

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Our Prime-Minister chickened out and did not arrive on an electric car (he used a Government VW Phaeton instead), but the European Comission President Durão Barroso (also a Portuguese national) used an electric car. Unfortunately I did not watch live TV that day, so idk which car he arrived in.

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