BRITAIN'S oldest car-maker Vauxhall is gearing up for the electric future, beginning with the Corsa-e.
The highly popular small hatchback is a natural starting point aimed at those who mostly commute or have low mileage lifestyles.
Responding to the UK Government's drive towards lower and zero emission cars from 2030, the Vauxhall Corsa-e is available in six trim versions but is purely electric drive.
Launched just as all car sales slowed when the coronavirus broke out, Vauxhall has since rejigged the ev model trims and cut prices while improving specifications.
But these still see the Corsa price list showing the Corsa-e series at almost double the price of their petrol stablemates, which is a real setback to ownership.
Even at the higher price, the Corsa-e comes with only a rapid charger power cable and if you want to charge at home from a normal domestic socket the optional cable will cost over £585.
A key change for 2021 models is the on-the-road price reduction across every all-electric Corsa-e variant, with savings of more than £1,000 on-the-road for entry-level SE Nav Premium models, making each of the six fully electric models better value.
All Corsa-e trim levels have also been renamed for 2021, and now include ‘Premium' as part of the new naming structure in recognition of the comprehensive standard equipment. The Corsa-e is available in SE Nav Premium, SRi Nav Premium and Elite Nav Premium.
All models feature a 50kWh battery and 100kWor 136PS electric motor, capable of a claimed 209 miles potential range from a single charge. Supporting up to 100kW rapid charging, an 80% charge can be achieved in just 30 minutes.
How you drive and the sport, normal or eco modes chosen by the transmission tunnel button actually determine the real range and play a big part in the practicality of the Corsa-e.
For instance a near 80 per cent charge indicated about 120 miles on our car but after just a few miles it was down to about 100 miles. Staying off motorways and high speed roads and using A-class roads we managed to regenerate some electricity by coasting and braking and after 52 miles journey it indicated about 98 miles left to range.
That was confusing enough and I am told ambient temperatures can have a significant impact on the charging and range. However, returning the same 52 miles saw the range falling to a little over 45 miles.
This wide fluctuation in energy use and range over the same distance defies logic. Even running with lights and heating may affect the range and in the winter you need wipers as well and have to factor in these power uses.A domestic charging connection should be standard not an extra.
The connection and range issues aside, the Corsa-e is a very civilised commuter car with excellent seats and a comfortable ride, good infotainment and connectivity and a respectable turn of speed when needed. Heating and ventilation was good.
Press on and the Corsa-e chassis is up to the job, delivering good responses to steering, brakes and throttle, with strong roadholding and no vices in its handling.
A slim-roofline design ensures excellent vision and the wipers and lights are up to their task on winter days.
The controls are well laid out around the wheel, across the fascia and on the central console and the driver and passengers have good but not exceptional room.
Access is easy and the boot quick to load or empty with a near doubling of capacity when the rear seatback is folded.
With its electric motor spinning away and driving the front wheels, there is very little mechanical noise in the Corsa-e and what is comes from the tyres and suspension.
After the initial shock of the list price, the Corsa-e running costs are very low with, at the time of writing, no tax costs and recurring charges are non-existent.
There is a place for the Corsa-e but Vauxhall really need to look at its pricing in the sector where other pure battery and hybrid models are competing for buyers.
£31,810 after £3,000 Government grant
100kW/136ps synchronous electric motor, 260Nm, 50kW lithium-ion battery, automatic, front wheel drive