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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There are no speed dials, so calling people is like pulling teeth out of a donkey, and quite hard and awkward to do whilst driving.

Voice recognition, doesn't.

When it's been raining and you open the boot, it all runs off and pisses all over stuff.

From the rear lower window, you can clealy see the contents of the boot even with that tea towel stretched over.

Navigation attempts to pronounce road names, e.g., turn left onto " London road". Which would be a good feature if it didn't sound like an amphetamine enraged dwarf in a helium tent. It effects my ability to drive safely at some turns!

The reversing camera is (a) pointing at the ground and (b) low resolution and not particularly good in low light situations, like, errr, night time.

I can't see the current mpg, only an average. I can't anywhere see how much we recovered regeneratively, and I can't see any history of past trips except the A and B.

How do I get fresh air in the cabin with the climate control? No idea, I'll open a window. The rest f the climate controls are like a blunt pencil.

The headlights are shite. Nuff said.

All the aux lighting, like map, cabin, door, etc are incandescent bulbs!! How retro is that.

I can't play music over Bluetooth?! Must be doing something wrong.

Overall a great car and I like it a lot, but it needs a little work in my generally worthless opinion.
 

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Richard, I think you have come to a very similar conclusion about the car as many others.

As you say, great car... but it does need work on the software.

On a few of your points...

There is no current mpg readout.

The fresh air is controlled through the Climate Control screen. On the right of that screen is the recirc/fresh air buttons.

The headlights are rubbish and the way the main beam is selected is rubbish too.

It seems that car manufacturers simply refuse to use LED lights. It is the same on the Leaf.

There is no way to play music over Bluetooth!

The way I feel about it is that they have a superb car in the Ampera but have really let it down with some really rubbish software and money-pinching downgrades.
 

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I find the voice recognition works OK, but my tip is to use nicknames, call tiger rather than call john smith.

I agree that the poor reversing light makes the camera bad at night - my last car was better in this regard. I think reason is that one central light passes all EU country regulations. I may look to fit some additional led reversing lights that comply with UK regulations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I personally think that current/historic (bar chart type view as in the Toyota/Lexus range) and information on regenerative recovery is critical. I found being able to see how many W/hr I recovered when breaking helped me optimize my breaking in the Lexus. Too hard and it threw it away, too little and it did nothing but the golden zone gave maximum recovery. I also found it useful to compare economy now as opposed to 15 minutes ago. Can't be that hard to achieve surely.

Headlights, will be upgraded, either by GM or me, probably me. I can't drive at night with crappy headlights.

Fresh air, seems to only allow for recirculation, or let it decide. If I let it decide, its recirculating. I just open a window, but that kinda defeats the economy thing. I'm quite sure that every other climate system I've ever used didn't just add things like air flow balance, fresh/recirc, ac on/off, just for the fun of it. I miss being able to have air in my face, with a little to my feet and just turn of the AC when I don't think I need it.

Music over bluetooth, massive cockup there. My daughter had her phone paired to my lexus, and would take over the stereo on every journey. Now she's going to have to be tethered with an aux cable that I now have to buy.

LED Lights or lack thereof, I just don't get it. 5W incandescent, or 0.25w LED. Oh, I'll choose the one with a hot wire in it. If I wanted to guess, I'd say its because GM has some long term contract obligation with some chinese bulb manufacturer to buy 10 trillion bulbs in the next 5 years, but that would be stupid right?. I'll waste my time and effort swapping them all out then. If anyone is interested in doing the same, then I'll make a note of what I use, and from where so you can order the same. Its often trial and error to find LED bulbs that (a) fit, and (b) produce the right light pattern. I found some sideways 501's for my lexus which solved the problem on cabin lights having the bulb mounted sideways.
 

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Re Bluetooth I agree the car should support it, but it is pretty easy to get a bluetooth to aux adaptor. There are lots of cheepies on eBay (search "bluetooth stereo audio") but the one that looks good quality (on paper) is the HTC CAR A100 which is available on Amazon.
 

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I'll be very interested in your LED replacements so do post what you used and where you got them from.
 

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Can't disagree with much of what you say here :)

However, please remember that this is a first generation car. I am certain that many of the points you raise will be changed in future generations or models. I accept that many of the issues raised are petty, pathetic and just crass and could very easily be fixed and perhaps should have been prior to launch. However, it is what it is and we are the pioneers. Let's keep the opinions positive lest we slip into moaning... and that won't help anyone :) :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A wise man once said "It is the relentless voices of discontent that power the engines of change". or something like that.

Eitherway, I'm not moaning. oh, wait, I am. 39K (ignoring the grant) is enough to pay to have a vehicle with simple stuff sorted and without buggy software. I don't mind being on the bleeding edge because its fun, but c'mon, get the simple stuff sorted first.

I will be upgrading everything to LED. I will sort the headlights, and I will get bluetooth audio, and I'll do all that and more because....... Vauxhall couldn't.

Just as a side note; Still Love the car :)
 

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Richard said:
A wise man once said "It is the relentless voices of discontent that power the engines of change". or something like that.
Wise words and ones I fully subscribe to.

Eitherway, I'm not moaning. oh, wait, I am. 39K (ignoring the grant) is enough to pay to have a vehicle with simple stuff sorted and without buggy software. I don't mind being on the bleeding edge because its fun, but c'mon, get the simple stuff sorted first.
I do take your point but it is easy to imagine that the Ampera is just a development of other cars. If you take any current model it always pretty much just a development of a previous model. There has never been the sea-change of technology as from all previous Vauxhalls to the Ampera (or Chevys to the Volt). It is all new! All the software is new... everything. It has not had the benefit from years of step by step development that, say, an Astra has had in the areas of engine managment, Bluetooth integration, SatNav etc. It has taken years and years of development to end up with what is in a current model Astra. This has not happened with Ampera and it is a little bit like starting all over again.

Having said that I would have thought that they might start with current systems and work on from there but perhaps there were so many issues with that approach that it was better to start over.

I will be upgrading everything to LED. I will sort the headlights, and I will get bluetooth audio, and I'll do all that and more because....... Vauxhall couldn't.
I am not upgrading to LEDs. The existing lights do not make much difference to range and don't really make much of a difference to how it looks or performs. For me it would just be wasting money for no benefit. Should they ever need to be replaced thoough I will certainly consider replacing with an LED option.

Just as a side note; Still Love the car :)
Me too :D
 

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Richard said:
Headlights, will be upgraded, either by GM or me, probably me.
Let me know how you go with this.. I'm missing the xenons from my old merc. I fear that auto alignment and headlight cleaning legal requirements might cause some issues here if retrofitting.

Richard said:
Fresh air, seems to only allow for recirculation, or let it decide.
And if you turn both options off.. I am assuming its using external air.
(but Why the hell they haven't just put a third option button/display there I just don't know.)

Richard said:
I'd say its because GM has some long term contract obligation with some chinese bulb manufacturer to buy 10 trillion bulbs in the next 5 years, but that would be stupid right?.
Bingo, business often stifles innovation.
Again please keep us updated on what alternatives you find..

I have to agree with your overall assessment, I think many Ampera owners have not surprisingly come from cars in the £35k+ price bracket, and are generally expecting better than what GM have come up with. The boot tea towel solution is appalling and I always feel bad when showing people the car and they say "but what about the boot space?" and I have to show them there is room in the boot BUT there's that god awful thing there...

I can say that, when time comes to get a new car (in about 8 years) I would take a LOT to persuade me to buy another GM.
 

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Xenons may not be possible... well, not legally anyway.

I can say that, when time comes to get a new car (in about 8 years) I would take a LOT to persuade me to buy another GM.
We have only had the car for 2 months so it is difficult to make that kind of decision based on just 2 months but it really depends on how they respond in the coming months. If the issues are taken on board, rectified and improved then I will sing their praises and may be GM is the only make I ever buy... if they do as I suspect that they will... ignore us, ignore these issues and carry on regardless, then like you it might be my last.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
GM seems to be quite happily ignoring all the unhappy Volt customers so I guess it stands to reason that they will ignore us too. Its a shame really, but I guess its to be expected.

Just as a matter of opinion, I don't think you will ever get a car that does everything you want just the way you want it. The closest car that did for me was the M5, but that still had things I disliked like idrive and the sloppy shift in auto mode, etc. *and* the M5 cost me just short of 80K whereas the Ampera was less than half that. So maybe you do get what you pay for, or maybe its just that GM considers the Volt/Ampera just a stop gap to their hydrogen projects. I dunno, I just don't have the inside information, but I will, in the meantime, enjoy my Ampera (and even enjoy fixing stuff). I'm committed to keeping this car for at least a year, maybe two and by then who knows what will be available.
 

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Remember this is an AMERICAN car that has been tweaked for the European market and inside they didn't tweak much (just a DAB here and there ;-)

Of all the things I don't like, the "cargo cover" probably IS the worst and I agree it does not impress friends when they see it! The reality is that most US owners won't know it is naff ("hatchbacks" are rare there) and won't use it because they haven't had to in the past. Bear in mind that in most cities theft from cars is low (and targeted by the police). We lived in Atlanta for 3 years and our local paper reported every incident of theft from cars :-O. Imagine how many pages that would be in a most UK cities ;-)

My car is booked in for a very dark tint to the tailgate next week. This will probably hide stuff in the boot better than the so-called cargo cover and will hopefully reduce solar gain...

The reality is that much of the £39K price has gone on the power train technology, not the "fluffy" stuff and I am happy with that. "Chevy" is not GMs upmarket brand even in the USA and they have positioned the Volt very carefully. However, the fact that there is rumours of a Buick or Cadillac based on the same platform implies that GM know there is an opportunity for a "luxury" version even there.
 

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Richard, what have you done, you've got us all going with your amusing and honest posting.
The 'tea towel' is probably there to absorb the water when opening the boot :lol:
When wet, we've had plenty of practice this year, I open the boot slowly, which helps the water to run off into the gutter where it belongs.
I removed the cargo cover straight away together with the bag between the seats as the car looks much better without and my empty boot (less weight to carry around) is an advert to thiefs there is nothing in the boot. My rear window in my previous car was smashed by a thief with the cars smart hold cover in place covering nothing, to prove a point.
My Ampera Electron is a superb car despite the odd niggle.
 
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