Renault may have been a little too quick with its press release claiming a new range record of 250 miles (400kms) for its Zoe EV. A walk over to the Opel stand at the Paris show would have revealed the record had already been broken.

The new Opel Ampera E can achieve 360 miles (500kms) on a full charge making range anxiety a thing of the past. How did they do it?

Ampera E product chief Pam Fletcher said: "We have been at this game for a while, we have had electric cars in consumer hands for six years covering some 2.4bn electric consumer miles and we have the largest connected fleet in the world so we have a great understanding of what people want rather than guessing at it.

"In the US and Europe we have the largest battery lab of any OEM and we have been working over the years with different battery chemistries and eliminating inefficiencies you get from electric motors. We have moved to a new level of chemistry and worked on heating and cooling as well as managing the 12 volt loads. We have our own battery state estimator and all these things matter.

"We have also looked at how to manage waste in the cabin - direct heating through the seats and steering wheel rather heating the whole cabin."

A full charge works out at around 25 miles an hour but a fast DC charge can add 150km in 30 minutes. The Ampera E will be launched in Europe next spring and in Norway, where EVs are heavily incentivised, dealers have already been inundated with inquiries.

Initially only available in left hand drive, right hand drive is unlikely to be available until the next generation. However, the UK plans to import a small number of LHD models to test the market with selected customers.

Sold as the Chevrolet Bolt in the US and on sale before the end of this year, Fletcher said the architecture could be used for other models. While the underpinnings are the same as the Bolt, there have been some engineering changes for the European Ampera to suit different road conditions while parking assist is also unique to Europe.

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