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Discussion Starter #1
Having followed the Ampera storyy for a couple of years, I am soon to replace my current company car. I am really interested in having an Ampera - not only to save the planet, but also because I love the concept and the Benefit-in-Kind tax rate! I contacted Vauxhall through their website to book a 3-day Company Car Test Drive. The next day I was called by one of their office staff and we exchanged details. Only when I re-iterated that I wanted to test drive an Ampera was I told that I could take a 3-day drive on anything except the Ampera. Crazy. This is such different car from the other Vauxhall offerings that I certainly want an extended trial. No can do - contact your local dealer they said. Local Dealer says no can do - 45 minutes maximum test drive.

At the weekend I wrote to Duncan Aldred, CEO of Vauxhall UK to query this nonsense of "anything but the Ampera". I have heard nothing yet but I am an optimist by nature so perhaps he will prevail. Does anyone have any recent experience of getting a 3-day test drive?
 

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I was told the same about two months ago by the Vauxhall dealer in Luton. The website suggested a three day test drive was available, but once at the dealer they said this had been withdrawn, although the car could be taken for a one day test drive. To be honest, I don't believe Vauxhall are at all interested in the Ampera anymore.
 

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We had a 24 hour test drive six months ago but was arranged over a weekend, delivered Friday returned Monday as Saturday and Sunday did not count. The car did not come directly from Vauxhall but was handled by a company (whose name I can't recall) that specilised in demonstrations to prospective company buyers on behalf of Vauxhall.

The loan was triggered by Vauxhall OKing it, but all other contact was with the loaner company.

The lack of interest by Vauxhall and the ridiculous distance to a service centre, some 180 mile round trip, were the deal breakers.
 

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Booked a test drive in March 2012 followed by the actual order for the car a week or so later, my Electron was delivered in May 2012 and a test drive was confirmed for July 2012 !!!

However we did take up the offer of the test drive for another employee, demo was arranged through;

Vauxhall Business Demonstrators Administration Team
Company Car and Business Demonstrations
0870 908 7001

Gary
 

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That is the company. Thanks.

They delivered, demonstrated and collected again with no sales talk at all.

Vauxhall never followed up on the demo. I had to call them in the end.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here's an update on the 3-day Test Drive situation.

I have not had any response directly from Duncan Aldred, CEO of Vauxhall Motors.

I have had confirmation earlier today from Bristol Street Motors that because they have no chance of selling me an Ampera as I will be using a leasing company, the longest test drive they can offer is 15 minutes - fair enough I suppose.

I rang the Vauxhall Demonstration Team using the number on the Vauxhall website and initially they held the line that 3-day test are not now company policy. I made a lot of negative noises and pointed out that I have used the Ampera as an example of Innovation to our company's fast-track management training schemes and yet now they were preventing me from even trying one for long enough to plug it in at home. I seemed to be pushing on an open door as about an hour ago I got a call from the Demo Team offering me the 3-day test. "Shy bairns get not" as they say up hee in the NorthEast. So I am booked up for later this month for a Positiv. It will be delivered from Worcester so battery will be empty when it is delivered.

The chap I was dealing with said that the charging lead will be only 6 metres long. He said that I could not use an extension lead to connect to this as it would "melt" the charging cable. Is this true?

Anyway I am happy with the chance to get my hands on one of these machines. I hope I am not disappointed.
 

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He said that I could not use an extension lead to connect to this as it would "melt" the charging cable. Is this true?
Well that depends on the extension lead ;)

Seriously, providing you use a lead that is properly rated for 10A continuous (13A is better) then it should be fine but it should be fully unwound. I have used extension leads successfully and safely but it does require a bit of care to make sure that it is properly rated. Many so called "13A" extensions are not rated for continuous high current use and yes... they may melt! :eek:

Great new that you have your drive. You will keep us up to date with how it goes won't you :)
 

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It will be delivered from Worcester so battery will be empty when it is delivered.

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Well done on getting your 3 day test drive.
The battery should not be empty when its delivered to you. I think the drivers are told to drive them in Battery Hold mode (Petrol) when they deliver them from Worcester.
 

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Great that you have managed to get a 3 day test drive but why would you not take the word of all us Owners / Converts as to how great the Ampera is????

I suspect the reason you had no reply from Duncan Aldred is that he got a promotion in early February to a job in the USA (Buick /GMC Head of Sales, Marketing and Service I think). His successor has only just been announced so he's probably still sorting through the mail!

Only other point I'd make is that if you were sourcing through a leasing company surely they should / could have organised the test drive. Most professional Leasing companies take such matters on board as a matter of couse to satisfy their customers.

Big Paul
 

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Only other point I'd make is that if you were sourcing through a leasing company surely they should / could have organised the test drive. Most professional Leasing companies take such matters on board as a matter of couse to satisfy their customers.
PHH never did when I was with IBM and ATT, it was up to us to organise any test drives we might want. They did say in the scheme documentation that we should EXPECT a reasonable length test drive, and to involve them if refused. But I recall the only 24h plus test drive I had was with our local Volvo dealer who was great and had no problem letting me have a car for the weekend on two separate occasions. The local Merc and Audi dealers were hopeless - accompanied 45 minute and that was yer lot!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Big Paul - you obviously get to make the decisions in your house but I am subject to the approval of higher authorities!
 

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PHH never did when I was with IBM and ATT, it was up to us to organise any test drives we might want. They did say in the scheme documentation that we should EXPECT a reasonable length test drive, and to involve them if refused. But I recall the only 24h plus test drive I had was with our local Volvo dealer who was great and had no problem letting me have a car for the weekend on two separate occasions. The local Merc and Audi dealers were hopeless - accompanied 45 minute and that was yer lot!

Thats why I prefaced the comment with "Proffesional" leasing Companies.

I'm afraid too many businesses, of all sorts, want to take the money without the effort / expense. I guess it's a function of everyone being encouraged to buy on price and then they end up blaming the wrong people for poor service!

Was always thus!

Big Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My 3-day trial starts on Tuesday and I am getting childishly excited in a way I never have done about test driving a car before! Is there anything about the car that you think my wife would be so impressed by that it might persuade her that trying an immature technology is not such a bad thing? You have to know in this context that I recently purchased a Baxi Ecogen boiler but it was so noisy in the kitchen that we had to have it swapped for a conventional boiler so the missus does not yet share my enthusiasm for an electric car.
 

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My 3-day trial starts on Tuesday and I am getting childishly excited in a way I never have done about test driving a car before! Is there anything about the car that you think my wife would be so impressed by that it might persuade her that trying an immature technology is not such a bad thing? You have to know in this context that I recently purchased a Baxi Ecogen boiler but it was so noisy in the kitchen that we had to have it swapped for a conventional boiler so the missus does not yet share my enthusiasm for an electric car.
Electric cars came before petrol cars, so no worries on the immature tech side of things. ;) :D
 

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Is there anything about the car that you think my wife would be so impressed by that it might persuade her that trying an immature technology is not such a bad thing?
Yes, fuel bills! Mine came with a full tank of fuel and it was over 2,500 miles before I visited a petrol station! I didn't even know where the fuel flap was or how to open it and I'd had the car for 6 months! Electric miles for me work out at about 3.5p/mile, that's with relatively expensive Good Energy UK renewable electricity. Am soon hopefully going Economy 7 and it will drop to nearly half that!
 

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I guess it all depends on what qualities appeal to your wife about any car :) Fuel bills, extremely quiet and smooth. Effortless to drive. Easy to park. Or is she swayed by things like heated seats, DAB radio, reversing camera and so on?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I think the sort of things that will sway her are
1) how easy it is to reach the pedals with shorter than standard length legs?
2) how easy it is to see the road ahead - what are the sight lines like at the edges of the windscreen?
3) how easy is it to reverse - I have seen comments about poor rear visibility?
4) how easy is it to park - front and rear parking sensors are a must but do you have any idea where the bonnet ends?
5) are the seats comfortable for along journey?
Saving the planet is not the key deciding factor for us choosing an Ampera - rather will it be comfortable and reliable? With only a few years to go to retirement hassle-free motoring is a must but I love the technilogy in the Ampera but unfortunately I am unlikely to have the casting vote!
 
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