lessening the fears over "range anxiety" due to limited battery life.
Vauxhall's Ampera, which launched last year to acclaim in the US as the GM Volt, joins Renault's Fluence ZE [zero emissions], a family car that went on sale last month as one of the newest eligible for a £5,000 "plugged-in car" discount from the government.
Last year, the then transport secretary Phillip Hammond said: "2011 could be remembered as the year the electric car took off", as he launched the grant scheme that covers nine different models. But only around 1,000 were sold last year, and figures for first quarter sales in 2012 show that registrations of new electric cars have largely flatlined, and only half of the allocated budget for the grant scheme is likely to be taken up.
Of the 563,556 cars sold in Q1, only 278 were pure electric models, up from 218 on the year before.
Vauxhall forecasts it will sell 3,500 units of the £30,000 car this year, or 5,000 in a full year. A spokeswoman said its target of 10,000 sales across Europe in 2012 was "in our reach quite easily".