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Let me begin by saying that having changed my BMW 330d for an Ampera I still have no regrets despite the following experience.
 
I picked up my new Ampera 3 weeks ago. My first journey which was a  240 mile round trip with no mid journey charge. I managed 50 miles on the battery and average mpg of 70ish. 
 
All the way through this journey the engine management fault icon was visible although I didn't know that was what is was at the time.
 
The following day I took the car on another long run and this time I plugged the car into a 13amp socket for an interim charge using the in car lead. Worryingly the car didn't take a charge. Also, the fault icon was still visible.  On the way back the car stopped unexpectedly and I didn't know what to do. I could not get the car going. At one stage I pushed the ON button and the engine started. That was unexpected. I called the AA and by the time they arrived I had stopped panicking and I got the car started OK.The AA man couldn't work out what the problem was and he suggested that I continue my journey which I did and I got home OK. However the fault icon was still visible.
 
As a result I booked the car into Greenhous Telford who tried everything to identify the fault includng bringing engineers up from Luton and they thought that they had sorted out the issue but didn't really know how. They tested the car and returned it without the dreaded warning light. During this time Greenhous gave me a replacement Ampera.
 
The next day the fault returned so the car went back to the garage. This time Greenhous and Luton engineers identified the fault as something to do with the battery and so decided to change it. I was told that this is the first fault of its type to be reported and that the work would take about a week as the battery needed to come from Germany and the fitting itself would take about a day.
 
I wasn't very happy as you can imagine but soon decided that any new car can have its faults and what is important is how diligently the manufacturer attends to the problem.
 
I cannot fault Vauxhall and Greenhous Telford. It was evident that Greenhous were getting all the support that they needed from Luton and Greenhous themselves were great. The only downside was that I was given an Insignia as a replacement  car but that only emphasised what a difference there is between that Insignia and the Ampera.

After fitting the new battery and testing the car over the weekend Grenhous returned the car to me.
 
Today I took the car for a 160 mile round trip. I got 48 miles on the initial charge, 11 miles on an interim 13 amp charge and an overall 67.8 mpg on the journey and so far over 900 miles a lifetime of 83mpg. Given that my BMW 330d only averaged 36mpg I am very happy!

Durng the journey, I wanted to show off the Sport mode to my passenger. As I was about to overtake another car my concentration was on that manoeuvre and when the Drive Mode did not respond my reflex was to push the button a second time. Oh dear! The car stopped. I was stupidly pressing the ON/OFF button by mistake. A hinged flap ov the ON/OFF button would prevent such accidents from happening. From now on I must be more careful.

The positive outcome is that I now realise that this is what I must have done when my car stopped on that earlier journey and so I now know that the car did not malfunction. Also, in my panic the first time it happened I had been trying restart the car without first placing the gear lever into Park. This time I knew what to do and I coasted to a stop in a safe place and started the car straight away.

The other positive outcome of this experience is that the engineers at Greenhous have become the first in the UK to change a battery and the experience has been invaluable for them and for the Luton engineers. Other dealers may now benefit from this.

The fault has yet to be identified by the engineers in Germany but it seems likely to have been a controller on the battery. Thank goodness for the 8 year guarantee should such a thing happen to anyone else which is unlikely as this is the first time this fault has manifested itself so far in Eurpope at least.

It really is a fantastic car to drive and I would recommend it to anyone especially with the terrific after sales support that I received from Greenhous and Vauxhall which really does give a buyer peace of mind. The car is relatively new especially in Europe and am prepared to accept that there may be some teething problems. I would not want my experience to put anyone off buying an Ampera which is why I have written this factual account.
 
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