Currently reading: Vauxhall plots £22,000 urban electric car as entry model
Supermini will sit below Corsa Electric in line-up as cheap EVs become a "big pull" in industry

Vauxhall is considering the development of an entry-level city car that will be priced from around £22,000, according to the boss of parent brand Opel. 

The new entry point is envisioned as a diminutive, urban-oriented proposition to sit below the Vauxhall Corsa Electric – which opens at £32,445 – in a space similar to that previously occupied by the likes of the Vauxhall Adam and Viva

That would make it a rival to the forthcoming Renault 5 and the Kia EV2. Florian Huettl, CEO of Vauxhall parent brand Opel, said a city car “was possible” as “there is space in the [new] range for a smaller model [than the Corsa]”, although he wouldn’t confirm if such a car had been designed. 

Huettl hinted that the key to a Vauxhall city car would most likely be the development of new energy-dense battery chemistries, which will bring production costs down, enhance interior space and lower vehicle weight.

Reducing the overall size of battery packs would allow future small EVs to offer ranges similar to those of larger existing models while maintaining a compact footprint and low price point. 

“That is the goal,” added Huettl. “Our target for the next generation is €25,000 [for an EV].” He added that cheaper electric cars are becoming “a big pull” within the automotive world, especially from customers, and the brand needed to react to this. 

Vauxhall corsa electric front three quarter

Vauxhall has several options it can use to engineer a future electric city car. Parent company Stellantis has a range of platforms, including the forthcoming STLA Small architecture, which will replace the E-CMP platform used by the current Corsa Electric, along with the Peugeot e-208

The STLA Small architecture is designed to accommodate cars ranging from the A-segment to the C-segment, with batteries of between 37kWh and 82kWh. 

It will also allow for a range of motors and power outputs, starting from around 94bhp – ideal for a small city car. 

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Figures released by Stellantis suggest that the platform, which is scheduled to underpin its first production car in 2026, can be used for cars as small as 3600mm long and 1700mm wide. Another option would be to adopt sister firm Citroën’s Smart Car platform. 

This is being used for the recently revealed ë-C3 supermini, which will cost from £20,100 at launch. Citroën CEO Thierry Koskas recently hinted that this architecture could be made available for other Stellantis brands and be used by cars smaller than the average supermini. 

“The Smart Car platform is supposed to go in the future in other vehicles from Citroën, maybe from other brands,” he said. 

Opel rocks e front three quarter

“This is a platform that will receive different vehicles, because it’s a very promising platform where we can do a lot of things – and not only, by the way, B-segment hatch cars.” 

At this early stage, there has been no official indication that Opel-Vauxhall is actively considering launching a sibling model for the ë-C3. 

Notably, though, it does sell its own version of the Citroën Ami – dubbed the Rocks-E – in various global markets. 

However, Vauxhall will not initially attempt to match the mooted €20,000 price point of upcoming EVs like the Volkswagen ID 1. Huettl said: “The aim of €20,000 is, I think, unattainable. The cost of materials is too high.”

Will Rimell

Will Rimell
Title: Deputy news editor

Will is a journalist with more than eight years experience in roles that range from news reporter to editor. He joined Autocar in 2022 as deputy news editor, moving from a local news background where he cut his teeth.

In his current role as deputy news editor, Will’s focus is with Autocar and Autocar Business; he also manages Haymarket's aftermarket publication CAT.

Writing is, of course, a big part of his role too. Stories come in many forms, from interviewing top executives, reporting from car launches, and unearthing exclusives.

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volkswind 3 November 2023

The key here is to quickly adapt the newly bought Chinese EV platform from Leap Motors into Opel/Vauxhall's own car models.

Ecarowner 3 November 2023
They already do! Corsa e is available for under 20k on autotrader.
Anton motorhead 2 November 2023
So what exactly did we learn about the possible forthcoming Vauxhall city car? Nothing. If I remember right, Stellantis achieved record profits last year and should easily be able to produce a competitive £20000 city e-car and still make money on it, if they decided to. And aren't all Stellantis cars about badge engineering? 3-4 flexible platforms, about a dozen brands, multiple combinations.