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Discussion Starter #1
So long story short in November I decided to sell the Renault Zoe that I had due to range becoming an issue and at the time couldn't find a PHEV that I could afford so I had to switch back to an ICE car (Specifically the Nissan Micra Mk5 as it's practically a Renault Clio which in itself the Zoe was just an electric Clio).

However I've not been having a great time and trying to look at going back to a PHEV if possible and the Ampera / Volt (Volt seems slightly more common up north, Ampera down south which is more likely) is looking like a contender.

The Electric part seems worth it as compared to some "hybrids" doing from what I've read at least 25 miles on electric and a further 200 on petrol.

However my concern is reliability and maintenence.

I know obviously it's not going to be as reliable as the Micra I have is (in the sense of I have another 2 years of warranty left on it), but as most I find seem to be at the 8 year mark I'm presuming the batteries are out of warranty from what I've researched.

If the battery pack develops a fault, does this also render all petrol / rex operation not possible?

Is there any other major faults to be aware of? Just a quick skim over the forum seems to result in a common issue with the steering wheel?

And also with servicing I'm guessing less dealerships provide support for them now?

Thanks in advance.
 

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I can't say anything from experience, but can you not consider a Golf GTE which is that bit younger and presumably large enough as it's bigger than the Micra?
 

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The Golf and Ampera are different animals, one is large ICE and small electric motor, the other small ICE and large electric motor. The Ampera is electric drive even with the ICE running oh and no gearbox. I'd be very dissappointed if I got less then 30 miles in normal winter conditions but I was down to 25 in the beast from the east - that was cold. This mild winter 35 miles and now its warm 40-48 miles It takes a very warm (28+) still day to break the 50miles IMO.

To answer the OP Those under 100,000miles and 8 years old still have the Voltec warranty on the drivetrain and battery provided the servicing has been kept up. The last ones were sold in 2015 (15 plate I think, no 65 plates) so these could have 3 years left.
Mine is 64plate so I still have 2.5 years of the Voltec Warranty left for example. Once out of Warranty the cars can be serviced by the HEVRA Garages so there are more options than the limited Vauxhall network.

The cars overall seem very reliable and were screwed together well in the US. One oddity is the battery, its 16+kWh with 10.2kWh usable, the effect is the car appears to keep the same battery available even when the actual capacity has degraded.

Insurance is reasonable, no VED.
The one downside is 4 seats and is why I'll probably be selling mine in a few years though hiring a 5 seater when needed is looking like it might be the way to go. If so this one is a keeper until the rear brakes rust solid :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I can't say anything from experience, but can you not consider a Golf GTE which is that bit younger and presumably large enough as it's bigger than the Micra?
They're about £3,000 more than the Ampera so out of budget. Ones that are at a similar price are then over the 100,000 mile mark. So I don't think they're a contender.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The Golf and Ampera are different animals, one is large ICE and small electric motor, the other small ICE and large electric motor. The Ampera is electric drive even with the ICE running oh and no gearbox. I'd be very dissappointed if I got less then 30 miles in normal winter conditions but I was down to 25 in the beast from the east - that was cold. This mild winter 35 miles and now its warm 40-48 miles It takes a very warm (28+) still day to break the 50miles IMO.

To answer the OP Those under 100,000miles and 8 years old still have the Voltec warranty on the drivetrain and battery provided the servicing has been kept up. The last ones were sold in 2015 (15 plate I think, no 65 plates) so these could have 3 years left.
Mine is 64plate so I still have 2.5 years of the Voltec Warranty left for example. Once out of Warranty the cars can be serviced by the HEVRA Garages so there are more options than the limited Vauxhall network.

The cars overall seem very reliable and were screwed together well in the US. One oddity is the battery, its 16+kWh with 10.2kWh usable, the effect is the car appears to keep the same battery available even when the actual capacity has degraded.

Insurance is reasonable, no VED.
The one downside is 4 seats and is why I'll probably be selling mine in a few years though hiring a 5 seater when needed is looking like it might be the way to go. If so this one is a keeper until the rear brakes rust solid :)
To be honest I forgot about HEVRA and seems there is now one garage near me that does so that's good to know.

The few I've seen that are within a reasonable distance are around 62 reg, there is one 14 reg but at £10,500 vs around £9,000 (milages are similar at 60,000)
 

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My take is that you will two camps on this:-

A/ Knowledgable owners, perhaps with access to workshop facilities. These folk can change out steering column locks, swop out driveshaft bearings, repair door locks, vacuum fill the many cooling systems before breakfast. They are happy to undertake such repairs because they are enthusiasts and appreciate the unique design and capabilities. Or drive x hundreds of miles to find one of the few techs who can repair the car.

B/ Ordinary owners. Simply put, disaster darlings. Out of warranty, complicated.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
My take is that you will two camps on this:-

A/ Knowledgable owners, perhaps with access to workshop facilities. These folk can change out steering column locks, swop out driveshaft bearings, repair door locks, vacuum fill the many cooling systems before breakfast. They are happy to undertake such repairs because they are enthusiasts and appreciate the unique design and capabilities. Or drive x hundreds of miles to find one of the few techs who can repair the car.

B/ Ordinary owners. Simply put, disaster darlings. Out of warranty, complicated.
Ouch, sounds very expensive if it goes wrong :oops:
 

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The forums tend to have folks explaining how to fix problems, however these may be a minority of owners.

Mine has been reliable (the most reliable of any car I've owned) the only faults have been the known weaknesses - door switches and fogged up rear lenses. A set of tires to replace the cracking OEM ones. I have replaced the 12v battery and will be doing again shortly. This given the way EV's treat 12v batteries I consider a consumable with a 3 to 4 year life.
A replacement bearing is reasonable at a garage, running gear is mainly Astra (brakes etc.) and any garage can do those. The engine is an old corsa lump run at fixed speeds and seems to be bullet proof in this use.
The one worry is the same as all EV's out of warranty - the HV gear, Charge port / inverter / Onboard charger and its no worse than other brands and the Voltec warranty is better than most who only cover the battery for the 8 years not the drivechain as well.
 

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From an statistical breakdown rate its solid as a rock.
The battery is very unlikely to fail on you. I don't beleive any has.
Even if you can't charge the car works a hybrid perfectly fine.

Saying that though the problems you do get are all systems related, most becuase the 12v battery powers the car on boot and there's a tonne off extra systems then on
Honestly it way more reliable than any other car Ive had.

What it really important is where is your nearest ampera approved dealer is.
 

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The Golf and Ampera are different animals, one is large ICE and small electric motor, the other small ICE and large electric motor. The Ampera is electric drive even with the ICE running oh and no gearbox.
They are different approaches to achieve the same outcome, but the Ampera is the purer approach. Your definition of a gearbox is clearly different to mine, the Voltec appeals to my experience of preselector epicyclic gearboxes (as does the DSG and previous PDK types for different reasons).
Off topic, but I find it disappointing that there are few RExs around as the concept makes more sense than the current breed of PHEVs which are little more than greenwashing of the outdated ICEs.
 

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the Voltec appeals to my experience of preselector epicyclic gearboxes (as does the DSG and previous PDK types for different reasons).
I understood from the videos the Ampera has a planetary gearbox - how it works
Has sort of 2 speeds, using two different motors, the large one for normal use / acceleration and the secondary one when cruising gently along, you can feel this as it takes a short time to swap motors if you ask it to accelerate..

That secondary motor is normally the generator driven by the engine.

I think the only pure rexs about are the I3 and the London electric taxi which is a shame.
 

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When buying a 2nd hand car, one say 7+ years old, the experience and reliability is not necessarily the same as say for an owner who has had the same model of car for 7 years FROM NEW.

I'll let the forum debate why this is so.
 

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I understood from the videos the Ampera has a planetary gearbox - how it works
Has sort of 2 speeds, using two different motors, the large one for normal use / acceleration and the secondary one when cruising gently along, you can feel this as it takes a short time to swap motors if you ask it to accelerate..
Planetary/epicyclic - same thing. You are correct that the gearing changes once the larger motor/ICE contribute to the drive, it avoids the smaller motor going overspeed also.
 

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The small Motor/Generator (A) is not used to drive normally just the motor/generator (B) (the 150kW unit) Its difficult to spot when the small motor takes over - around 40 / 45mph I think, Its only when you accelerate after a period at a constant speed that you can feel it untangling A to let B run, about a second perhaps a bit less, you can feel the hesitation. All very clever. If anything its an engineers car rather than a salesman's car.
Its a very smooth drive and if you just accelerate it does not "Change" gear from 0 to 100 (set max speed) just using the 150kW (B) motor.
When run using the ICE the A Motor/Generator is used as a generator to provide electricity to run the B motor, any excess is put to the battery and once enough has built up the ICE is turned off and the reserve used. Wash and repeat...
One thing, because the B unit is more powerful than the ICE, its possible when on ICE power to come up against power restriction when heading up a long hill fast as the car runs out of battery reserve to add to the A motor output. Rare but can happen.

Would have been nice if they could have clutched both A and B together for hard acceleration :) that would have fun.
 

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So long story short in November I decided to sell the Renault Zoe that I had due to range becoming an issue and at the time couldn't find a PHEV that I could afford so I had to switch back to an ICE car (Specifically the Nissan Micra Mk5 as it's practically a Renault Clio which in itself the Zoe was just an electric Clio).

However I've not been having a great time and trying to look at going back to a PHEV if possible and the Ampera / Volt (Volt seems slightly more common up north, Ampera down south which is more likely) is looking like a contender.

The Electric part seems worth it as compared to some "hybrids" doing from what I've read at least 25 miles on electric and a further 200 on petrol.

However my concern is reliability and maintenence.

I know obviously it's not going to be as reliable as the Micra I have is (in the sense of I have another 2 years of warranty left on it), but as most I find seem to be at the 8 year mark I'm presuming the batteries are out of warranty from what I've researched.

If the battery pack develops a fault, does this also render all petrol / rex operation not possible?

Is there any other major faults to be aware of? Just a quick skim over the forum seems to result in a common issue with the steering wheel?

And also with servicing I'm guessing less dealerships provide support for them now?

Thanks in advance.
I would have said, TBH, the Ampera is probably going to be more reliable than the Micra!

... But reliability is not the only issue, it is also cost and availability of repair options. This is about 'severity x frequency'.

I sold my Ampera because I finally had enough of Vauxhall's general incompetence and disinterest. If you can find a way pas that, like you mention a HERVA option, go talk to them and establish your 'route to repair', and if you are comfortable with it then go with that.

Ampera/Volt have a number of well known faults, all but the drive bearing (requiring garage) are pretty simple DIY jobs TBH, even the bearing should not break past £1k even out of warranty.

Any other failure modes are really 'exceptional', and by definition you're not going to get much information about such possibilities. Pay your money and take your chance.

When you think about it, if you can get one with 3 years warranty remaining for £10k, if you get 3 years of reliable motoring out of it then you're laughing. The forum member here is, I think, doing exactly that having bought mine 3 years ago, I sold due to imminent warranty end. But AFAIK he'll have done very nicely out it £/mile speaking and it's already paid for itself for him, as it did for me.
 

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I swore blind we'd never sell ours, even going as far as to say we'd use the battery for the house if the car died. It didn't happen !! I just couldn't get past the thought that I didn't trust it; I think the longest trip we made in it was to swap it in for the volvo PHEV we now have, in which I would happily drive anywhere in europe if we had the chance. Not so the Ampera. Having said that, I do miss it, there was something very special about how it drove, and the technology.
 
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