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Plugging into the Corsa-e

The plug-in revolution is advancing apace and Vauxhall are at the forefront of the move to electrical power with the new Corsa-e.

Late last year I was invited to the launch of the latest iteration of the Corsa, held in Goodwood, Sussex and, with four generations totting up 2.1million UK sales since 1993, the all-new car had a lot to live up to.

And it did just that. Vauxhall has conjured up another winner in the latest version, new from its headlights to its tail-lights and featuring high efficiency petrol and diesel engines, as well as the fully-electric Corsa-e, which was not available to drive at the launch but was delivered, in Elite Nav spec, for a road test.

Before we get to the technical bits, it is worth repeating what I wrote in my original review: ‘First impressions were of winning looks, the car boasting dynamic style, and detailing which places it firmly in the modern Vauxhall family. On the road, the cars I drove felt confidence-inspiring with plenty of go’.

All that holds good for the fully-electric model, with the plus that the car – as is common with ‘leccy-powered motors – has great acceleration from the off.

I have to say that I was at a disadvantage – through no fault of Vauxhall – as I do not yet possess a charging point at home, something that would have enhanced my week with the car as overnight charging is surely the way to go with such motors.

So I had to rely on public charge-points, which can be easily located via online maps, and after downloading a charging app to my phone and priming my new account with a small cash deposit, I was ready for the plug-in experience.

Unless you can find a public charger with a rapid-charge facility, it’s best to plan ahead as topping up the battery takes time. So I did my first charge-up while on a shopping trip in town, plugging in the cable provided with the car (stowed neatly under the boot floor) and tapping the app to start the process, before heading for the stores.

Handily, the app monitors the charging, informing you if the process is continuing or complete. OK, unlike a trip to the filling station, the replenishing process has a time factor – but if you are using the time for something you would be doing anyway, that factor matters not.

Vauxhall says the Corsa-e has a range of 209 miles, and a 7kW domestic wall-box will charge the car from scratch in 7hours 30 minutes, while a 22kw public charger will charge (15%-80%) in five hours, with a 100kw public rapid-charger doing the 15%-80% job in 30 minutes.

On the running costs front, there is no road tax or benefit-in-kind to pay

The car has a 100kw/134bhp motor and automatic transmission, with performance figures of 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds, a top speed of 93mph and zero CO2 emissions. The battery has an eight-year/100,000 miles/70% capacity warranty.

On the running costs front, there is no road tax or benefit-in-kind to pay. The price of charging is fractions-of-pennies.

Features you will find on the new Corsa range include a great satnav system on a 10in touchscreen with a next-turn display in the instrument binnacle, a connectivity suite including Bluetooth, six-speaker sound system, climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, rain sensitive windscreen wipers, automatic headlight control, electrical adjustment for the driver’s seat, LED ambient lighting, electric parking brake, rear-view camera, parking sensors, heated door mirrors and adaptive cruise control.

I really enjoyed the quiet, easy, on-the-road experience and found myself becoming a lighter-footed driver, mindful of the little range-gauge in the speedo binnacle, although this may well wear off as you become more used to the car! I finished my week-long road test feeling truly electric-enthused.

Price: £30,310 (after £3,000 government contribution).

Frank Turner
Frank is a respected journalist who has specialised for many years in writing car reviews and motoring industry news for national and regional newspapers.

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