Vauxhall's parent company, PSA, is fully committed to moving their brands across to a full EV line-up as soon as practical. Vauxhall's arrival on the EV main stage comes as part of a ‘mission to democratise electric mobility’, with their now-available-to-order Corsa-e. This battery-electric version of the best selling car, kicks off a transition that will see an electrified version of every model on the road by 2024. Interestingly, the Corsa-e has been positioned at the top of the model stack. WhichEV checks the specs and pricing.
The Corsa-e has a sporty design and a range of around 200 miles for regular (non-motorway) driving. However, if you're driving around town carefully, don't exceed 30mph and it's 20 degrees outside, then you might manage up to 245 miles with a full charge.
This compact model comes with a price tag close to £30,000 – so to make the car feel like good value, Vauxhall has designed the Corsa-e with a lower centre of gravity and included a customer-selectable, ultra-responsive sport mode. Combine that with a 0 to 60 time of 7.6 seconds and you can see that the car’s ‘fun-to-drive’ factor has been maximised.
How does that level of acceleration compare to traditional cars? Pulling away from the lights, the new Corsa-e will keep pace with a 2 litre BMW that costs around £5,000 more. At the time of writing, the Corsa-e 136 SE Nav was available on a business lease with 0% company car tax for just over £240 per month.
The Corsa-e's 100kW motor is covered by the same 8-year warranty as the 50kWh battery and it produces 136 horsepower. It can be paired with a commercial DC fast charger of 100kW to give you an 80 per cent charge in just 30 minutes when you're out and about. In most cases, the recommended option for most UK domestic chargers is a 7.2kW, but the Corsa-e also has the option to boost the battery overnight from a domestic 3-pin socket. If you opt for the 3-pin option, we don't recommend you run anything else on that circuit.
That brings us to a really cool calculator on the Vauxhall site. You can choose your driving style, from calm to normal to aggressive, then add your likely speed, outside temperature and whether the climate control is on. That will let you know exactly how the Corsa-e's range is likely to be affected. Refreshingly honest!
The Corsa-e comes with driver assistance features like emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keep assist and traffic sign recognition. This EV also offers keyless entry and start-up, a 7-inch infotainment cockpit-touchscreen and Apple CarPlay alongside Android Auto compatibility.
The car’s eco-mode can extend its range by 40% while sport mode will cut it by 10%. It tops out at an electronically controlled 93 miles per hour, which may not seem high – but it's enough to lose your license in these camera-happy times.
Other nifty features include intelligent LED lights, which cut preceding or oncoming vehicles from the light pattern to prevent glare or impairment of night-time driving (a first in this market segment).
It also features adaptive cruise control, allowing drivers to tail the vehicle ahead by a certain distance and a smartphone app which lets users check & control the car’s charge levels, temperatures etc.
After the Government grant, the Corsa-e range starts at £27,665, with the option of a free charger, worth £800, if you order from Vauxhall before the start of July 2020 – as well as other incentives.
Alongside the offer of a free charger, early bird orders will also attract six-month subscription to the UK’s largest public charging network, Polar Plus. Standard warranty items include Vauxhall Care which provides one year’s MOT, two years' of roadside assistance and three years of servicing.
On their web site, Vauxhall includes a list of reasons why electric vehicles are better, including:-
- Electricity is cheaper than fossil fuel – where the Corsa-e can give you 100 miles of range for less than £4
- Your servicing costs will be less with no clutch, exhaust, spark plugs etc to maintain
- No congestion charge with large cities and some councils even include free parking (or you can pay for a partial recharge and park for free)
At first glance, the Corsa-e is a good looking car. The level of detail is impressive and extends down to the ‘aerodynamically-optimised’ wheels, which further enhance range and efficiency. The wheels work alongside the regenerative braking system, which transforms kinetic energy into electricity to help boost your range.
Vauxhall’s first foray into the EV market shows great promise. The iconic Corsa seems to have adapted well to its newly added ‘-e’ with interior and exterior augmentations fit for the future. Its promise to provide a fun-to-drive experience is an important consideration in the journey to encourage more to make the move to EV.
Arguably the most interesting thing about the Vauxhall Corsa-e, is that it has been priced as the top-of-the-line-up product. We expect every major brand to follow suit. The slower, heavy polluting options that have petrol and diesel engines will be positioned as cheaper alternatives – as entry level products. EVs are the ones with sports-car acceleration and silent motors alongside low running costs and, as such, will be marketed as aspirational.
In a nutshell: Customers who want more, can aim higher and get an EV. There will be a competitive version running in the e-Rally series.