FOCUS ON: Vauxhall
The Vauxhall Ampera was a car ahead of its time, a range-extender plug-in launched in 2012 with a real-world range of at least 25 miles and CO2 emissions of 27g/km. Unfortunately, it was a touch ahead of the curve in terms of demand for plug-ins, and was killed off by the middle of the decade, with Vauxhall (under previous owner GM) deciding not to bring the second-generation Ampera to the UK.
However, under new parent PSA, owner of Citroen, DS and Peugeot, the electric surge is very much on, with no fewer than four plug-in cars arriving during 2020 as part of PSA’s plan to be among the market leaders in electrification.
THE FIRST PHEV
✪ STAR CAR ✪
WHAT IS IT?
The first all-electric Vauxhall, and an important one because it’s the plug-in version of Vauxhall’s biggest seller, which also happens to be one of the biggest-selling cars in the UK.
WHAT’S IT POWERED BY?
The Corsa is powered by a 100kW motor offering 136hp, and an 80% charge is possible in half an hour, if a 100kW charger can be found.
HOW FAR WILL IT GO ON A TANK?
The official range figure of 209 miles from the 50kWh battery is enough for the majority of drivers to go about their day without being compromised by range.
IS IT TAX EFFICIENT?
Yes! The Government’s company car Benefit-in-Kind tax bands are tailored to push people into electric cars, so that means zero BiK or company National Insurance payments on the car in this tax year, and bands of 1% next year and 2% for the following three years.
As well as the all-electric Corsa (see panel, right), plug-in hybrid technology was brought to one of the brand’s core models earlier this year with the arrival of the Grandland X Hybrid4 crossover (pictured above). The four-wheel-drive PHEV combines a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with two electric motors for 300hp performance with emissions of only 34g/km and an electric-only official range of 35 miles.
And the electrification continues in the coming months with a pair of full electric large vehicles, including Vauxhall’s first ever plug-in van. The Vivaro-e and Vivaro-e Life are van and passenger versions of the electric Vivaro, offering a range of 143 miles and space for up to nine in passenger form, and in the LCV either 125- or 185-mile versions thanks to battery options of 50kWh or 75kWh.
“With emissions-free transport and deliveries becoming increasingly important in urban areas, the demand for electric light commercial vehicles is increasing,” says Vauxhall’s light commercial vehicle director, Richard Hughes.
NOT NEGLECTING TRADITIONAL POWER
But the moves to electric vehicles haven’t come at the expense of petrol and diesel power, with last year’s facelift of the Astra making it one of the first cars to market to offer RDE2-compliant diesel engines that cut drivers’ Benefit-in-Kind tax bills by four bands. At the same time, the new engines offered significant emissions improvements over their predecessors, further cutting tax bills.
The same changes are now filtering through to the facelifted Insignia, which is about to hit UK roads, with Vauxhall claiming efficiency gains of up to 18% over the outgoing model.
Nevertheless, the future is very definitely electric, with the brand pledging to electrify its entire product range by 2024, with eight electrified models on the road by the end of next year.
Vauxhall is focused on the electric version of its new Mokka small crossover, which arrives around the end of the year. It will be the first Vauxhall to be offered with an EV at launch alongside petrol and diesel.
The Mokka-e offers an official range figure of 201 miles in Normal drive mode, with the potential of extending that via the Eco function.
The Mokka-e uses the same 136hp 100kW motor and 50kWh battery as its Corsa sibling.