New Vauxhall Astra Electric hatchback and estate unveiled
The new Astra Electric and Astra Sport Tourer Electric go on sale in early 2023, with prices expected to start from between £35,000 and £40,000
The Vauxhall Astra has become the latest household nameplate to go electric. The new, rather unambiguously named Vauxhall Astra Electric hatchback and Astra Sport Tourer Electric estate will go on sale in 2023, and face fierce competition from the Volkswagen ID.3, Cupra Born, Renault Megane E-TECH and MG4 EV.
Other than a new set of 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels and some ‘e’ badging on the tailgate, the electric Astra is externally identical to the petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid models. Inside, every Astra Electric will feature Vauxhall’s Pure Panel cockpit which incorporates a 10-inch central touchscreen and 10-inch instrument panel.
By fitting the battery in the car’s underbody, there’s been no loss of cabin or boot space over the plug-in hybrid Astras, according to Vauxhall. That means the zero-emissions hatchback features a 351-litre boot, while the Sports Tourer estate boasts 516 litres of luggage capacity – the latter being 40 litres more than the newly refreshed MG5 EV estate offers.
The Astra Electric uses the same running gear as its French sister car, the new Peugeot e-308 that’s also arriving in 2023. That means its front wheels are powered by a single electric motor producing 152bhp and 270Nm of torque. The 54kWh battery pack is the only one available in the Astra Electric, which Vauxhall claims is good for a range of up to 258 miles. For context, both the Megane E-TECH and MG4 have a maximum range of over 280 miles, while versions of the Cupra Born and VW ID.3 can cover around 340 miles on a single charge.
It’s a similar story with the Astra Electric’s 100kW rapid charging speeds: enough for an 80% top-up in half-an-hour, but still slightly slower than rivals’ capabilities. Fully recharging the 54kWh battery from a typical 7kW home wallbox should take a little under eight hours.
Vauxhall hasn’t announced any performance figures for either Astra EV just yet, but expect a 0-62mph time of around eight to nine seconds. We do know you’ll get the usual array of drive modes including Eco, Normal and Sport, which will affect how much power the electric motor gives you for the sake of maximum performance or maximum efficiency.
Considering Vauxhall has already launched the Astra GSe plug-in hybrid hot hatch, we wouldn’t be surprised if it gives the Astra Electric the same sporty treatment somewhere down the road, too.
We expect prices for the Astra Electric to start from between £35,000 and £40,000 when order books open in early 2023. That would bring it more in line with its rivals from VW and Renault rather than the cut-price MG4. Meanwhile, the Sport Tourer estate will be a direct rival to the new MG5 EV, currently the only mainstream zero-emissions estate car on the market, as well as the closely related e-308 SW estate also due in 2023.
Vauxhall currently plans to fully electrify its line-up by 2024, before transitioning to an electric-only brand by 2028. The next generations of the Grandland SUV and Insignia large hatchback will be electric, with the brand also working to revive the Manta name for a fully electric coupe-SUV to be launched by 2025.
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