The Vauxhall Ampera was one of the first plug-in hybrid cars to reach the UK market - although it was billed as a pure electric car with a “range extender” - and could have been a big boost for Vauxhall. Unfortunately it was probably just slightly ahead of the curve, so it never really caught on and sales were halted within two years.
Vauxhall took a different approach to the hybrid vehicle in that it was a “serial hybrid” where an internal combustion engine can charge the batteries. One moment it’s a traditional EV – you plug it in to charge the batteries and drive electric for up to 50 miles. But after that, when the battery runs out, a petrol engine takes over and generates power for the motor. Most hybrids are “parallel” where both the electric motor and petrol engine independently drive the wheels.
The engine provides charge to the battery, so the battery can still send power to the motors, but it doesn’t drive the wheels directly - at least not until you are at higher speeds, and then only as assistance to the electric drive. That means you can drive as far as you need on petrol and then charge when you get the chance.