Electric cars get no more approachable
They do get more interesting, though
What is it?
About as straightforward an electric car as you’re likely to get. It’s the artist formerly known as the Vauxhall Corsa-e – henceforth, it shall be known as the Vauxhall Corsa Electric. It’s a fully electric version of one of Britain’s best-selling superminis, looking for all the world like its ICE counterparts.
Though as the world and its dog knows, ICE is not long for this world. Like others, Vauxhall has committed to offering an electrified version of every car it sells by 2024, and by 2028 will solely offer full-EVs. Indeed, like its Stellantis stablemate, this little car is effectively a Peugeot e-208 in a different, less revolutionary suit.
Wouldn't I prefer an electric Fiesta or Polo?
Perhaps, if they existed. This electric Corsa has arrived long before an electric Fiesta or Polo. And for people who like buying badges they know from dealers around the corner, that could be enough to garner rather a lot of sales. Prices start at £29,305, making it a bit cheaper than a base e-208. And for total simplicity, there are but three trims to choose from: the base ‘GS’ line and a range-topping ‘Ultimate’.
Sandwiched between the pair sits a limited edition ‘Anniversary Edition’ trim (the red car pictured in the gallery above) that pays tribute to 40 years of the Corsa, and before it, the Nova. It's only available in ‘Record Red’ paint, gets tartan seats, black gloss elements and – bestill thine beating hearts – SOCKS. Because nothing screams 40th anniversary like a nice, comfy pair of socks.
Moving on... tell me more about the car.
It uses the same combination of 100kW power and 50kWh battery as the e-208, adding 345kg to a regular Corsa’s kerb weight but keeping it all in the floor. Better for handling, and it means room for people and luggage is mostly unimpeded too. The fully charged range is quoted at 209 miles.
How close will I get to that in the real world?
That will depend on how you’ve toggled between Eco (81bhp), Normal (107bhp) and Sport modes (the full 134bhp) with the former maximising your range potential but stifling performance and air con clout. Hook your Corsa Electric up to a rapid charger and you can accrue 80 per cent of charge in 30 minutes, meanwhile, though a full charge on a three-pin socket at home will take around 24 hours.
What's the verdict?
If you’ve been curious about going electric but are a little risk-averse, the Corsa Electric might just be for you. It’s significantly less peacocky than its Honda or Mini rivals, but there’s another 50 per cent of range and tons more room for people to compensate.
It’s like choosing the bloke who’s most logistically astute as your best man: you’ll get to your wedding in good time and with little stress, but the room won’t be in raptures when the speech comes. This is a purchase from the head, not the heart.
Vauxhall has played it much safer than Peugeot in designing a small electric hatchback, and while the Corsa Electric will turn off plenty of people as a result, it’ll no doubt win over at least as many more.