Electric Vauxhall Corsa-e: specs, prices, images and a VXR model on the way

The Vauxhall Corsa-e goes on sale next year and promises to make electric motoring more accessible to the masses

The new, all-electric Vauxhall Corsa-e was revealed for the first time at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. It's also set to get a high-performance hot-hatchback version, reviving the brand's VXR badge in the process, which you can read more about further down the page.

Order books for Vauxhall's first electric car opened in June: prices start from £26,490 (including the Government's plug-in car grant of £3,500), with monthly finance payments from £270 being offered to tempt new customers.

The company says it'll give customers a deposit contribution of £2,615 as part of its personal contract purchase deal, with an interest rate of 5.1% APR and a yearly limit of 10,000 miles.

The first 500 customers to place an order will also benefit from a free home wallbox charger when taking delivery of their Corsa-e in 2020.

Vauxhall is asking for deposits of £500, which are fully refundable at purchase. The car's 50kWh battery comes with a warranty guaranteeing that it maintains 70% of its capacity for eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Vauxhall Corsa-e: range, charging and performance

The Corsa-e has a quoted range of 205 miles, however, Vauxhall claims this will be “extendable by 40%” in Eco mode, suggesting a maximum theoretical range of around 287 miles. The company also claims a 0-80% rapid-charge time of just 30 minutes courtesy of the 100kW CCS charging capacity – the fastest charge rate in the small-car class, matched only by the Corsa’s sibling model, the Peugeot e-208. A 7.4kW home wallbox will deliver a full charge in under eight hours.

The Corsa-e’s electric motor generates 134bhp and 260nm of torque, resulting in a 0-62mph figure of 8.1 seconds. 0-31mph should take 3.1 seconds. As well as Eco mode, the Corsa-e gets Normal and Sport modes. The latter improves the performance and responsiveness of the car, with a range loss in the region of 10%.

The brand says the Corsa-e will be a sportier offering than its key rivals, notably its own sister cars; the new Peugeot e-208 and the more expensive DS 3 Crossback E-Tense. The Corsa-e is compatible with Type 2 and CCS ports, with the charging socket located at the rear of the car, where the fuel filler cap is on a petrol model.

Interior

Inside, buyers will find a seven-inch touchscreen in SE Nav cars, or 10-inch touchscreen in the top-spec Elite Nav, both of which are angled towards the driver for easy use on the move.

Sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are all included, and there’s a voice-control function. LED headlights and alloy wheels feature, too. A smartphone can be used to unlock the e-Corsa, with vehicle data displayed in an app that will also offer control of the timed charging parameters and cabin pre-heating or cooling.

Vauxhall Corsa-e in detail

DrivingElectric spent an afternoon looking around the Corsa-e with its lead development engineer, Thomas Wanke. 

He’s keen to point out that “the Corsa-e will feel different to the Peugeot. It has its own DNA and will feel like a Vauxhall to drive. The CMP platform is very versatile and gives us plenty of opportunity to make cars feel different.”

The Corsa shares that CMP platform, along with its 50kWh battery and 134bhp electric motor, with the Peugeot e-208, which we’ve already driven. Wanke admits that “it is a shame that we don’t have dedicated cable storage in the car, but we expect people to mostly charge at home and not need to take the cables with them.”

The bluff, planted stature of the Corsa-e is one key reason that buyers may opt for it over rivals like the Renault ZOE. Wanke points to the LED lights, the distinctive grille and the distinctive Vauxhall ‘blade’ sweeping down the side of the car as particular style attributes that set it apart from the rest of the class.

The dashboard, too, is a smart-looking feature of the car. It's less striking-looking than the Peugeot’s, with a more conventional steering wheel and digital readout for the driver that are easier to get comfortable with, even if they lacks the 'wow' factor of the e-208’s 3D digital dials.

Keyless go is standard on the entry-level car, but you have to go for Elite Nav to get keyless entry, which is a shame. The bigger 10-inch screen (not to mention an upgrade to Matrix LED headlights and contrasting black roof) will be another incentive to go for the higher-spec car.

It can be tricky to figure out some of the menu layouts and where the settings are, but generally the screen’s graphics are sharp and it responds quickly. The nav’s ability to show charge points and potential range on the map screen is really useful, too, and of course you can use your phone’s nav through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The rear seats offer plenty of room for an average-sized adult to sit behind a tall driver, and the seatbacks split 60:40 and fold to give decent load potential if you occasionally carry bigger items. The deep boot looks to be on a par with the Peugeot’s 311-litre load space, but the lack of dedicated cable storage means you’ll have a chunky cable bag taking up a lot of the room if you want to take the cables with you.

There’s no storage under the bonnet – instead, you’ll find windscreen washer bottles and the on-board charger that allows for a maximum 11kW charge at an AC charger. This effectively means you can plug the Corsa-e into any Type 2 AC public charger, and if it’s 11kW or more, you’ll get a full charge in under five hours, as opposed to the eight hours that a more common 7.4kW charger delivers.

Vauxhall Corsa-e VXR high-performance version planned

Vauxhall’s VXR badge, reserved for its fastest production cars, will return on a special-edition version of the Corsa-e. The company’s MD told our sister title Auto Express at the Frankfurt Motor Show that the Corsa-e will be available as a VXR model from 2020, starting with cosmetic enhancements and possibly extending to handling and performance.

The CEO of Opel/Vauxhall Michael Lohscheller earlier said: “You can be sure that we will have some positive surprises in terms of having emotion as one brand pillar of Vauxhall. I think the electrification point is important; most people think electrification is for green reasons, for CO2, etc. It’s not only that – it’s also fun.

"I think that’s what we’re thinking of and how we might bring that to more people – but it’s just in the thinking at the moment. We’re thinking about how we can bring electrification to a new level in terms of sportiness. This emotional aspect of electrification is important, so it's not years away.”

Vauxhall is set to have four electrified models on sale by the end of 2020. There'll be a Vauxhall Grandland X PHEV arriving in late 2019, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa-e in early 2020. After that comes a Vauxhall Vivaro electric van, called the Vivaro-e, and finally an electric version of the next-generation Vauxhall Mokka X.