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Hello, I am a new Ampera owner so thought I would post here to introduced myself. My wife and I live in Portugal but we were back in the UK for a few weeks during the summer. During this time I bought the Ampera, as I had previously identified the Ampera/Volt as the only car which met my requirements. I wanted a car which would do all our day to day trips – rarely over 30 miles – on electric power, but would still be capable of comfortable long distance trips between Portugal, France and Spain. Last week we took the ferry to Bilbao, myself in the Ampera and the wife in my old Mercedes, then drove down to the Algarve with one overnight stop in Spain. In due course I will be transferring the car to Portuguese registration – I did think of buying one over here (Opel Ampera) but they are MUCH more expensive. Also the car I bought in the UK (2014 grey Positiv) was being sold by Bellingers with full service history and warranty from them, which gave me some peace of mind.

Both cars were stuffed with things we were bringing back to Portugal – including an inflatable canoe, model aircraft, bottles of Pimms, a solar panel, a hedge trimmer, three teddy bears, a chamberpot and industrial quantities of teabags. When the ferry docked in Bilbao I chucked my overnight bag into the passenger seat then walked round and got in the driver’s seat.

There was a strange buzzing noise in the car which I had never heard it make before. It sounded vaguely electrical, and would buzz for a few minutes, hesitate, and then start buzzing again. I turned the car on and off several times. I tried adjusting the heater controls and fan, I tried different drive modes, still the buzzing continued. We then had to drive off the ferry which I did with the car still buzzing – the buzzing did not vary with car speed. Through passport control, still buzzing. Outside the terminal, I parked alongside my wife in the Merc. We got out of the cars and I told her about the buzzing. I suggested she sit in the car to hear it for herself. I hoped I would not have to drive all the way though Spain and Portugal in a buzzing car.

She did, and soon got out looking very smug. It was the electric toothbrush in my overnight bag which had turned itself on. Relief….

The Ampera behaved impeccably for the rest of the journey (unlike the Merc which developed a problem with its complex hydraulic suspension). The hotel we stopped at overnight in Salamanca even had a charging point so I could charge the car overnight.

I’m loving the car and would like to thank the forum for the wealth of information I found here before, during and after my purchase.
 

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A warm welcome - I am also relatively new to Ampera ownership and I share your obvious enthusiasm for what is clearly a fabulous car. I look forward to seeing your Ampera spotting reports from the Iberian Peninsula . . .
 

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Have you checked if you can get it serviced somewhere near you? I live in the south of Spain and was also interested in an Ampera or Volt. Turned out the nearest authorized service center was 500 km away, so that put a quick end to my aspirations.
 

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Have you checked if you can get it serviced somewhere near you? I live in the south of Spain and was also interested in an Ampera or Volt. Turned out the nearest authorized service center was 500 km away, so that put a quick end to my aspirations.
Authorised service centres are only really an issue if you are still in warranty (which is less likely as the years and mileage go up). It wouldn't put me off buying the car at all, provided I could find an independent garage who were happy to look after it.
 

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Authorised service centres are only really an issue if you are still in warranty (which is less likely as the years and mileage go up). It wouldn't put me off buying the car at all, provided I could find an independent garage who were happy to look after it.
Good luck with that, and more so in Portugal. The electric parts of the drivetrain cannot be serviced by other than authorized dealers. Moreover, parts are hard to come by and will only be supplied to authorized dealers. Unless you're a DIY person, an Ampera is not a car you'd want if there's no service centre close by.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
In general I will be driving back to the UK every summer so my plan is to take the car into Bellingers for its service while I am there. Of course there it is a risk that it will develop a fault in the interim, but generally these cars are pretty reliable and this one has been well looked after.

I did check with Bellingers who assured me that my three-year extended warranty covers me in Spain and Portugal. I'm not really sure how this would work in practice and I hope I never have to find out! Any minor issues can wait until the annual service.

Apparently there is a Facebook Group for Ampera/Volt users in Spain and Portugal, but not being a lover of Facebook I have not yet investigated this.
 

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Good luck with that, and more so in Portugal. The electric parts of the drivetrain cannot be serviced by other than authorized dealers. Moreover, parts are hard to come by and will only be supplied to authorized dealers. Unless you're a DIY person, an Ampera is not a car you'd want if there's no service centre close by.
I don't think that's the case, I'm in the ROI and have a EV-specialist garage who are quite happy to work on them.

You hear this with ICE marques also with brands like Ducati but there are successful independent garages servicing them also.
 

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I don't think that's the case, I'm in the ROI and have a EV-specialist garage who are quite happy to work on them.

You hear this with ICE marques also with brands like Ducati but there are successful independent garages servicing them also.
Isn't the point though that there are a lot less independent garages who have the skills to service and repair EVs as they are fairly new technology. They also have to be quite broad having to support a range of models rather than just one manufacturer. So the knowledge and experience may vary from garage to garage and car to car. I do expect this to improve though as the demand for EVs increase and the confidence and skills grow.
 

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My "little man" is an old skool mechanic and really is not knowledgeable about EVs, to the point that he won't work on them as he doesn't know enough (which isn't unreasonable) about them, even any safety measures you should take when working on them.

I'm sure there are plenty of small businesses like him, and he can live out his work life sticking to what he knows.

I'm also sure that a new breed of "car tech" will be along shortly... :)
 

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Isn't the point though that there are a lot less independent garages who have the skills to service and repair EVs as they are fairly new technology. They also have to be quite broad having to support a range of models rather than just one manufacturer. So the knowledge and experience may vary from garage to garage and car to car. I do expect this to improve though as the demand for EVs increase and the confidence and skills grow.
Yes absolutely, that is the case.
But if you find somewhere happy to work on your car, then that's all that matters if it's reasonably convenient for you.
 
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Simon Alvey
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