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Electric cars get BIG boost as Vauxhall reveals first-ever Corsa-e

The new Vauxhall Corsa-e
The new Vauxhall Corsa-e

Paul Connolly

Vauxhall has unveiled its first-ever pure electric Corsa, with a range of up to 250 miles.

The news is yet another boost to the EV (electric vehicle) sector since the Corsa is the UK’s fourth-biggest selling car with over 2.1 million cars sold since its birth in 1993.

This means millions of potential new small car buyers will be offered a mainstream electric choice when they visit showrooms.

Ford has yet to sell an electric Fiesta – the UK’s top-selling car – although it has pledged to electrify all its offerings within two years.

This week, as part of its PACE! strategic plan, Vauxhall revealed details of its 2019 electric programme.

This essentially consists of the Corsa-e, and the Grandland X PHEV, a mid-sized SUV. Two more all-electric models will follow next year, including the successor to the Mokka X SUV and Vivaro van.

Vauxhall says by 2024, it will have an electrified version of every model in its range, reducing its CO2 output as part of the fight against global warming.

Details unveiled this week by Vauxhall suggest the Corsa-e has an excellent range – although full and complete details have yet to be confirmed – and that it’s no slouch either, sprinting from 0-31mph in 2.8 seconds. It will also make 0-62mph in a very respectable 8.1 seconds. It’s powered by a 50kWh battery pack and a 134bhp electric motor.

Whilst no Ferrari, these are important figures that will ensure the Coras-e is an acceptable choice especially for young drivers.

Importantly, in terms of range anxiety, the Corsa-e will go for up to 205 miles on a single charge, and this can be extended by up to 40% if the car is driven in Eco mode. Ahead of final official figures, we have reckoned this to be about 250 miles, although these would likely be in optimum conditions with a single occupant.

Nevertheless, these figures will make the Corsa-e an attractive prospect for urban dwellers or those with access to charging points on longer commutes.

There are three drive modes: Normal, Eco and Sport. In Normal mode, the 50kWh battery allows a driving range of 205 miles, according to tougher new WLTP regulations, according to Vauxhall.

Sport mode alters responsiveness and delivers more performance, which result in a moderate loss in driving range of around 10 per cent.

In “Eco”, the Corsa-e becomes a “long-distance runner”, says Vauxhall. All the car’s systems and the electric drive are adjusted for maximum energy efficiency, without significant detrimental effect on comfort. Compared with “Sport”, range is increased by up to 40 per cent.

The Corsa-e, which shares underpinnings with newly-released sister car the Peugeot e-208, features a regenerative braking system to recover the energy produced under braking or deceleration.

Vauxhall says the Corsa-e is “as easy to charge as it is to drive”. It charges via a cable that can connect to a wall-box or fast charger. The Corsa-e is equipped as standard with an 11kW on-board charger.

As you’d expect from a brand-new car, the Corsa-e is stuffed with the latest tech. This includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto infotainment with a 10-inch touchscreen available.

There’s also a tone of advanced driver assistance systems backed by camera and radar tech.

These include Traffic Sign Recognition, which detects signs (including LED signs) via the front camera.

The Corsa-e also offers two emergency braking systems:

  • Camera-based automatic emergency braking is activated if a collision threatens at speeds between 3mph and 25mph. Up to 18mph the car can be brought to a standstill. Between 30 and 52mph the car’s speed decreases by up to 13mph. The front camera can identify vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Camera and radar-based automatic emergency braking in an emergency reduces the car’s speed by up to 31mph in order to avoid or reduce the force of a collision.
  • The Corsa-e will go on sale later this year, with first deliveries expected next spring. UK and Ireland prices have yet to be announced.

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