Vauxhall’s new Corsa-e will likely make a lot of friends with impatient types who are open to the idea of an all-electric car, but lack the time or inclination to get its battery charged.
Why? It’s going to arrive in April next year with the capacity for fast DC 100kW charging to replenish the 50kW battery. The feature isn’t an extra either, and it could pull in a lot of people who would otherwise pass on the chore of having to charge a battery over popping into a filling station for fuel.
A five-minute pit stop or, potentially, many, many minutes as you wait for those battery bars to replenish is perhaps why so many of us have decided to hang fire on moving over to an electric vehicle. This is still the most frustrating aspect of electric car ownership and it’s mainly about the infrastructure.
Having a car that can be recharged promptly is therefore a definite bonus. And, with its perky recharging potential that could mean the Corsa-e could really hit the right note, assuming you can find a vacant 100kW charging station that is.
In real terms that means you’ll be able to get another 160 miles or so in around half an hour, which is admittedly very handy. Vauxhall also underlines that the Corsa-e boasts a 205 mile range, which has been ticked off via WLTP certification. The car will also come with a rather more sedate 11kW charger, which will get you charged at home in around 7.5 hours using a domestic wallbox.
Plug and play
Aside from that, there’s certainly nothing too revolutionary about the Corsa-e in the looks department, but Vauxhall isn’t really the go-to brand for controversial design lines. What you get is a pretty straightforward car with not too much in the way of surprises.
Interestingly, the Corsa-e will also be available as a petrol and diesel option too and, as a result, the charging port is where the normal fuel filler cap would be. Reversing into those annoyingly short-cabled charging bays when you’re out and about might prove to be the only option in that respect.
While that’s not a big deal it’ll be interesting to see if it provokes a reaction from people who prefer just to pull forwards in to a bay for a battery top up down at the shops. Another reason why, for example, the new Renault Zoe works so well, as it’s got the charging point in the nose of the car.
Elsewhere, while you do get some references to the fact that it’s an ‘e’ model, the Corsa looks conventional from all angles. The front and rear ends get the job done while the bit in the middle offers no nonsense access to the interior via four doors on the example shown here. The funky 17-inch alloy wheels on the press day example, however, delivered a much-needed sliver of excitement mind.
The overall impression is similar when you take a look at the interior styling. It’s a fairly meat and potatoes layout that will prove popular with the many people who like, and have bought the current best-selling Corsa.
That said, Vauxhall has clearly had a decent stab at adding in some more premium touches to spice up the interior, at least with its Elite Nav-trim model. The seating provides enough space for four adults and, as another bonus the car is surprisingly low down in that respect. Headroom isn't compromised.
Indeed, the battery seems to have been tucked into the bottom of the Corsa-e quite cleverly, meaning that the room on offer makes you soon forget you’re riding on a trio of cells in the floorplan. Out back, the boot space is thankfully big enough for your weekly grocery shop, which is probably the sort of journey the Corsa-e is going to be used for in many cases. We’d like to see how it fares with larger objects though, like a folding pushchair for example.
Vauxhall’s Corsa-e will sport a fairly robust tech specification too. As is the expectation from buyers now, the levels of features and functionality found on the inside are reasonably beefy. Apple Car Play and Android Auto, for example, are part of the package as is Bluetooth audio and wireless smartphone charging. There’s a 10-inch touchscreen display on the dash, which is pretty good on the eyes and allows access to options like your preferred in-car apps. The cheaper entry-level SE Nav model comes with a smaller seven-inch touchscreen. Active Lane Assist, meanwhile, is one of the key safety highlights.
Down below that the centre console has a neat shifter, which lets you select drive modes, with Normal, Eco and Sport options to choose from. While Eco unsurprisingly provides the leanest consumption of battery power Sport mode will let you tap into 134bhp from the motor. Battery power reserves will doubtless suffer as a result though there is regenerative braking to put some juice back in to those cells along the way. Eco mode, on the other hand, offers access to 81bhp, which is enough for pootling around town.
What the Corsa-e is like to drive, however, is yet to be determined as Vauxhall has so far limited most journalists to a passenger ride, most recently at the Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in Leicestershire. We first saw the Corsa-e at the Frankfurt motor show, where it sported Opel badging and it looked good there. The same can be said for its Vauxhall-tagged edition here in the UK, particularly the blue example in these photos. It’s not a head-turner, but we like the low-key lines.
The next step is to get behind the wheel and put it, and that speedy charging potential through its paces. Patchy charging infrastructure permitting that is. As for pricing then the base-level model will start at £26,490 (about $34,000, AU$49,000) after the UK government grant, so it’s competitive.