With deliveries starting in April, prices from £26,490 and a WLTP-certified range of 205 miles, the Corsa-e will be assembled on the same lines as petrol and diesel variants at the Zaragoza plant in Spain, where the regular Corsa has been built since the first generation was launched in 1982.
The lithium ion battery pack, consisting of 80 modules made up from 216 cells supplied by Chinese firm CATL, is currently produced at the PSA Group’s plant at Vigo, north-west Spain. However, PSA acquired Vauxhall and Opel in 2017 and there is now talk of repurposing Opel’s Kaiserslautern manufacturing facility in southwestern Germany for full-time battery production.
The broad strategy is to offer electricity as simply a third powertrain option for Corsa customers unfamiliar with the new technology. As such, the Corsa-e will look and feel similar to its petrol and diesel range mates. PSA’s CMP platform has duly been designed to help mitigate the usual EV drawbacks.
Thomas Wanke, project leader for the new Corsa, said the H-shaped battery pack’s three elements – there’s a smaller portion beneath the front seats and a larger portion beneath the rear bench, with the two linked by cells placed where the exhaust would normally sit – mean occupant space and boot capacity are identical to those of diesel and petrol versions of the Corsa, although the rear axle is wider and its central portion set further back to accommodate more battery cells.
The charging port sits where the fuel filler would usually be found. If the Vauxhall Corsa-e has an ace card, it’s that it can charge at speeds of up to 100kW as standard. This is double the rate offered by certain rivals and allows the battery to take on 160 miles of range in around 30 minutes.
We ride shotgun in the Corsa-e:
Our brief ride in the Corsa-e is limited to a handful of laps around Hangar 42 on a rainy day at Bruntingthorpe proving ground. As a setting, it’s far from glamorous, but the car – in range-topping Elite trim – instantly looks more desirable than any other Corsa to date.