By Steve Berry
LIFE is certainly benefitting from a shot in the arm these days (literally) as we all look forward to some sort of normality returning – but what about our return to travel and the motoring trips we took for granted, pre-Covid?
Well, you could give that part of your life a boost and spark a real love for motoring again if you choose an electric car as your next runaround. After all, we all yearn for change after the last 18 months so what better time to ring in the changes when it comes to everyday travel?
Fully electric vehicles (EVs) are rising rapidly in popularity with sales up by more than 127 per cent in the first nine months of 2020 – despite COVID-19 hitting all car sales severely – and the majority of that rise came from people choosing small to medium sized EVs for the first time.
Ideal for short commutes, city runs (including the school run) and basically every-day use, the small EV can provide excellent savings over equivalent fossil-burners – and you get to feel smug about saving the planet too.
Vauxhall’s offering in this segment is the Corsa-e with a 50kWh battery, 100kW electric motor, 134 bhp and fixed-gear ratio auto gearbox.
It has a range of over 200 miles and charging from a 7kW home-installed wall-box takes about 7.5 hours from 0 to 100%. Fast-charging from a suitable 100kW charging point takes just 20 minutes to get you from 20% to 80% charge.
The Corsa-e has a clean, conventional look and outwardly is almost undistinguishable from its fossil-burning brethren – until you see it whizz silently up the road, that is.
I’ve been driving the top-spec Vauxhall Corsa-e Elite Nav Premium which sits at the top of the trim levels and can be had from the Vauxhall Store for just £26,545 OTR after all discounts have been applied, including the OLEV Plug-in grant.
I think that’s a bit of a bargain when you consider all the kit on-board, along with brisk performance and low running-costs.
The Corsa-e is capable of hitting 60mph in under eight seconds – in a typical EV “swish” of acceleration that can be quite addictive.
Inside, the Corsa-e is perfectly fine and a pleasant place to be sat. There may be some scratchy plastics on display lower down in the cabin but generally the fit and finish is good with some top-notch tech like a wireless charger and a 10in touchscreen at this trim level.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard as are the conventional dials for the temperature controls which means altering the climate while on the move is simple and safe.
Space up-front is very good with plenty of elbow room between the two front passengers and visibility all round is good too.
In the rear you’ll find the usual story when it comes to small hatchbacks – a couple of kids will be more than happy while two adults could travel comfortably a good distance too. Three adults are not ideal though and only do-able for short journeys.
The 267-litre boot space should be adequate for any short family trip and it’s a good shaped boot too with easy access to get larger, awkward shapes in and out.
The driving experience is a relaxed affair – when you want it to be – with the Corsa-e very easy to drive around town thanks to its instant torque, light steering and good turning circle.
Fun is to be had on twisty B-roads thanks to the Vauxhall’s suspension which is a little on the sporty side, although even on the 17in alloys fitted to my car it didn’t get clunky over rougher surfaces.
The Corsa-e comes equipped with three driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport. Eco provides 81bhp and can add up to 40 miles of range; Normal gives 107bhp, while Sport gives the full 134bhp – which is also available in the other two modes if you floor the throttle.
One problem I did encounter was an alarming amount of wheelspin that was easily invoked if you stepped on the throttle when pulling out at a junction, or just pulling away after exiting a roundabout. It was quite surprising at first but I soon learned to be feather-light on the accelerator in those situations.
Steering is surprisingly quick, which makes those B-road blasts more enjoyable, although brake-feel is a little odd at first and something any EV driver needs to get used to.
Electric vehicles offer the driver an opportunity to alter their driving style to eek the most miles out of their vehicle and, for me, this is one of the benefits of owning a fully electric vehicle like the Vauxhall Corsa-e – it puts some interest back into the daily drive.
This doesn’t mean you need to drive around like a milkman from the 1960s. You can get a lot of driving pleasure by simply appreciating the quiet, calm way EVs get down the road or that surge of effortless acceleration when you want to overtake.
Put the gear-selector into “B” mode and marvel at being able to decelerate smoothly all the way down to a stop without having to touch the brakes – and be smug about the power you’ve put back into the battery by doing so.
There are also now opportunities to take to the roads for more than just the weekly shop. It’s a brave new world out there and the Vauxhall Corsa-e allows you to enjoy it, cleanly, to the max.
AT A GLANCE: Vauxhall Corsa-e Elite Nav Premium
OTR Price: £26,545
Electric motor: 100kW
Power: 134 bph
Transmission: Fixed-gear ratio automatic
0-60mph: 7.6 secs
Top Speed: 93 mph
Range (miles): 209