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Opel Vauxhall says developing new version of Ampera electric car

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - General Motors unit Opel said it is working on a successor model to its Ampera, a battery-powered electric car which hit European showrooms in 2011.

"We will definitely introduce a successor product in the electric vehicle segment and continue to defend our position as an innovation leader," Opel, which trades under sister brand Vauxhall in Britain, said in a statement on Wednesday.

A new version of its Ampera will be launched between 2014 and 2018, Opel said, declining to give further details.

"We see electric mobility as an important part of mobility and we will continue to drive down costs and deliver affordability," Opel further said.

The current Ampera which was voted European Car of the Year in 2012, is on sale starting at 38,620 euros ($52,000). In the United States the vehicle is sold as the Chevy Volt.

The current Ampera can travel more than 500 km on a single charge, giving it a greater operating range than the 190 km offered by BMW's i3 electric car, which is being delivered to customers this year.

($1 = 0.7429 Euros)

(Reporting by Edward Taylor, editing by David Evans)

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