Road Test: Vauxhall Corsa-E
I recently drove the new Corsa-E, the fully electric version of Vauxhall’s fabulous little hatchback which has been a mainstay since it first debuted in 1993.
It looks good without being flashy, is made from decent-quality materials and has enough room for four adults - five at a pinch. The steering wheel and drivers seat have plenty of adjustment and storage space is adequate apart from the glove box which is impractically small.
The boot space is not unduly compromised by the battery and has a capacity of 267 litres although it would be more practical if it folded flat when the seats were dropped.
The controls are a pleasing mixture of touchscreen and switches with the most readily used ones like the climate control easy to access.
Surprisingly there is just one USB port in the front. Presumably Vauxhall expect most owners to use the multimedia infotainment system rather than plugging in their own devices.
The 100kw powertrain with its 50kwh battery is impressive and the Corsa moves off quietly and quickly, getting up to speed effortlessly. It delivers a punchy 136bhp.
Steering is light and the turning circle is particularly tight.
Parking easily and safely proves to be no problem. All-round visibility is good and the rear-view camera is clear and gives accurate information.
As motoring manufacturers make the switch to electric powertrains for their vehicles I really wish I could be more enthusiastic about the prospect of living with one.
In the past few years the range and ease of charging has become infinitely better but it is still not there yet as councils and private companies install charging stations with maddening slowness.
Claimed range on a full battery for the Corsa is 220 miles but that doesn’t take into account the fact that you need to use the lights, climate control, entertainment system or wipers - all of which deplete the battery alarmingly. If you then use the heated seats and heated steering wheel then you could be in trouble.
Range anxiety is still a constant concern. A 70-mile round trip with 180 miles available on the battery should have been worry free but we arrived home with just 30 miles remaining.
A diversion, lengthy traffic jam or other such unexpected event could have caused a problem.
Here in the north super fast chargers are not as plentiful as in other parts of the country. A quick check on Zapp map at the time of writing shows 21 potential EV charging stations within a five-mile radius which is far better than it was last time I had an electric car on test.
The majority offer 50kw stations which, for the Corsa will charge the battery up to 80 per cent within around 90 minutes.
Over the week, we spent an inordinate amount of time sitting in the car doing crosswords or in nearby restaurants waiting for it to charge up, which is not ideal.
Of course, if you buy an electric car then it makes sense to install a 7kw home charging station.
They cost around £1,000 and a full charge takes around seven-and-a-half hours.
The initial cost of an electric car is far more than its petrol or diesel counterpart which needs to be factored in.. The Corsa range starts at £17,000 with the Corsa-E we had on test coming in at £31,000.
Transmission: Automatic electric drive
Top speed: 93mph
0-62mph: 7.6 seconds
CO 2 emissions:0g/km
EV range: 222 miles