GM Europe president Carl-Peter Forster has said that Opel-branded electric cars built in the USA could be up to EUR10,000 more expensive than their petrol or diesel counterparts.

Forster told Automobilwoche customers should expect to pay a significant price premium for Opel electric cars due on sale in Europe from 2012.

At such prices customers could still save money, however, because the price per mile would be significantly lower.

Forster would not comment on possible demand levels for electric cars. That would be "pure crystal ball gazing - demand is dependent on the oil price," he said.

GM will market the Chevrolet Volt in the USA from 2011.

"The first electric cars for Europe will definitely be produced in America, said Forster". The so-called E-Flex cars will be based on the next Opel Astra platform, known as the GM compact platform. They will use a lithium-ion battery backed up by a petrol or diesel engine.