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Mike Stevens | Mar 6, 2012

Holden's upcoming Volt launch has been given a vote of confidence this week, with the car's Opel-badged Ampera and its Chevrolet twin named the 2012 European Car of the Year at the Geneva Motor Show.

The Ampera and Volt beat out Citroen's new DS5 to take the award, also besting the Toyota Yaris, the Volkswagen Up!, the Ford Focus, Range Rover's Evoque SUV and the new Fiat Panda.

The Ampera gets its own unique styling, but under the skin it is identical to its Holden and Chevrolet Volt stablemates.

Billed as an Electric Range Extended Vehicle (EREV), the Volt cars are driven by a front-mounted electric motor, mated to a lithium-ion battery pack.

If the battery's energy runs low before the car be connected to a charging station, a small petrol engine kicks in to send power through a generator that in turn recharges the battery - and keeps the electric motor spinning.

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The 2012 ECoTY award the isn't the Volt's first. Last year, the Chevrolet version took out the North American Car of the Year Award, beating out the Hyundai Sonata (i45 in Australia) and Nissan's electric Leaf.

The Volt's short career has not been entirely spotless however, with concern over a small number of battery fires last year leading to an investigation (GM was cleared of any wrongdoing) that has since seen US sales slow.

Holden boss Mike Devereux is confident that the Volt will be a success in Australia, describing the car as "one of the most technologically advanced cars on the road anywhere in the world".

“Volt will make driving more economical, more environmentally-friendly and will fundamentally change the way Australia thinks about alternative transport solutions," Devereux said at the Volt's Australian unveiling in December.

“This is the start of something big for Holden and Australia.”

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