As part of the PACE! strategic plan, Vauxhall’s Corsa-e and Grandland X PHEV will lead the British brand’s electric charge this year. Two more all-electric models will follow in 2020, including the successor to the Mokka X SUV and Vivaro van. All models are vital to Vauxhall’s ongoing reduction of CO2.
Modern multi-energy platforms play key role
By 2024, Vauxhall will have an electrified version of every model in its range. A key role is played by the shared multi-energy platforms. They make it possible to offer various propulsion systems on a common platform.
A sales sensation since 1993
Corsa has been Vauxhall’s best-selling car for many years, with over 2.1 million Corsas sold in the UK since it launched in 1993. The British buying public are familiar with its name and looks, and have a fondness for its compact dimensions and interior packaging. Corsa is just as popular in Europe with over 13.5 million sold.
The Corsa-e has 205 mile range that can be extended by up to 40 per cent in Eco mode. The battery can be charged to 80 per cent capacity in 30 minutes at a rapid-charge station.
With 136hp and 260Nm of torque from the electric propulsion system, the Corsa-e sprints from 0-31mph in just 2.8 seconds.
Corsa-e drivers can choose from three drive modes: Normal, Eco and Sport. In Normal mode, the 50kWh battery allows a driving range of 205 miles according to WLTP. Sport alters responsiveness and delivers more performance, which result in a moderate loss in driving range of around 10 per cent. In “Eco”, the Corsa-e becomes a long-distance runner. All the car’s systems and the electric drive are adjusted for maximum energy efficiency, without significant detrimental effect on comfort. Compared with “Sport”, range is increased by up to 40 per cent.
In order to further improve efficiency, the Corsa-e features a regenerative braking system to recover the energy produced under braking or deceleration. This excess kinetic energy is converted into electrical energy and either used immediately or stored in the battery. The driver can choose between two levels. At the lower level, the Corsa-e’s deceleration is similar to the engine-braking of a conventional car. At the highest level of energy recuperation, the drag torque of the electric motor is much higher.
DRIVER ASSISTANCE SYSTEMS AND INFOTAINMENT
The Corsa-e is a pioneer in every way thanks to its advanced technologies, driver assistance systems and connectivity, which are more familiar to premium car drivers.
Numerous camera and radar-based assistance systems enable safer, more relaxed driving. The new Corsa’s infotainment systems up to and including the Multimedia Navi Pro are available with a 10-inch colour touchscreen. They are compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Driver Assistance Systems
Numerous advanced driver assistance systems, which enable safer, more relaxed driving, are based on camera and optional radar technology.
Traffic Sign Recognition detects signs (including LED signs) via the front camera. If the car is equipped with the navigation system, the system can use the speed limit in the map database to display the speed limit in the Driver Info Centre.
Lane Keep Assist (a Corsa-first) applies gradual corrective steering and makes the driver’s seat vibrate if the car leaves its lane unintentionally. The system gives an additional Lane Departure Warning in the Driver Info Centre.
Side Blind Spot Alert uses ultrasonic sensors in the front and rear bumpers to alert the driver to the presence of moving objects in the blind spots either side and to the rear of the car. A warning symbol lights up in the corresponding exterior mirror.
The Corsa-e also offers two emergency braking systems:
Camera-based automatic emergency braking is activated if a collision threatens at speeds between 3mph and 25mph. Up to 18mph the car can be brought to a standstill. Between 30 and 52mph the car’s speed decreases by up to 13mph. The front camera can identify vehicles and pedestrians.
Camera and radar-based automatic emergency braking in an emergency reduces the car’s speed by up to 31mph in order to avoid or reduce the force of a collision. Depending on the speed, the system can identify vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles and motorbikes.
Drowsiness Detection warns the driver, via audio and visual signals at three levels, to take a break after two hours of driving at speeds higher than 40mph. The system can alert the driver to the need for a break at any time if it detects that the car is behaving dangerously, e.g. swerving.
The Corsa-e helps the driver into and out of parking spaces by various means:
Parking pilots for the rear, and front plus rear.
Panorama Rear View Camera: additional parking assistance; increases rearward visibility by up to 180 per cent, enabling drivers to see traffic approaching from the right or left.
The new Corsa’s infotainment ranges from the Multimedia Radio and Multimedia Navi with 7-inch colour touchscreen, to the top-of-the-range Multimedia Navi Pro with 10-inch colour touchscreen. Angled slightly toward the driver, each system is positioned for optimum ergonomics in the clearly arranged instrument panel.
The Multimedia systems are compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and feature control via integrated voice recognition.
They also offer the new Vauxhall Connect telematics service. With helpful functions, such as Live Navigation with real-time traffic information, key vehicle data checking via an app, direct connection with roadside assistance and emergency call, the driver and passengers enjoy additional peace of mind. Help can be reached within seconds via the red button. If the seatbelt tensioners or the airbags are deployed, the emergency call is activated automatically.
The “Open & Start” keyless locking and start system (with anti-theft protection) recognises the driver via smart device. The engine is switched on a via the start button in the instrument panel.
DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING
Vauxhall’s all-new fifth generation Corsa is close to the end of development, primed to become the most efficient Corsa ever after undergoing extensive testing and tuning.
Vauxhall engineers have used the long polar winters in Swedish Lapland for intensive testing on frozen lakes and on snow-covered roads. Pre-production cars have been lapping the test tracks at the test centre for handling tuning, and the car has undergone electrical tests in the laboratory.
Customers can look forward to a more dynamic Corsa when sales start this summer, delivering the typical Vauxhall balance between sportiness and comfort. Thanks to lightweight engineering, the all-new Corsa’s weight has been reduced by more than 10 per cent compared with the outgoing model. Vauxhall will also offer the Corsa for the first time as a battery electric vehicle when the car goes on sale later this year.
Winter testing in the most extreme conditions
Vauxhall engineers have been testing the next-generation Corsa for months in Swedish Lapland, around 40km south of the Arctic Circle. Experts from the chassis control department have been using the harsh extremes of the environment to put the car through extensive chassis tuning programmes for balanced handling and comfort, as well as refining electronic stability, traction control and anti-lock brake systems on slippery surfaces – working in temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius. The control functions of the new Corsa must function reliably regardless of ice, snow, slush or asphalt, with any level of grip.
The new Corsa offers high levels of safety, comfort and driving dynamics, under the guidance of the test engineers who strike a balance between the ‘fun-to-drive’ qualities expected of the Vauxhall brand, with the limits and functionality set by the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) system. Vauxhall engineers will repeatedly lap the uniquely designed handling course – using both the oval and special surfaces – to continually optimise the control systems.
Testing with camouflaged cars began in Swedish Lapland last November. From January to March, the ice on the frozen lakes was around one metre thick, so that the test cars, snow-ploughs and water sprinklers could drive on them. During the long polar nights, the engineers benefitted from the Vauxhall lighting technology, as customers will with the road-ready car.
The all-new Corsa has also undergone round-the-clock laboratory testing to check for electrical compatibility, as the new Vauxhall Corsa is packed with highly advanced electronic equipment.
The Corsa has also undergone round-the-clock laboratory testing to prove its electrical durability. The new model is equipped with a raft of highly advanced electrical systems, including the latest generation ESP and an all-new infotainment hub.
Electric Pioneer: Vauxhall Ampera First Electric Car Suitable For Everyday Use
Vauxhall/Opel pursued the development of battery-powered vehicles and presented the innovative Flextreme Concept at the 2007 IAA in Frankfurt, which featured the Voltec extended-range electric propulsion. The Flextreme GT/E Concept, presented at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, illustrated how this drive concept can also be integrated into a mid-size car.
The electric drive with range extender reached series production in 2011 in the Vauxhall Ampera, the first electric car for four people fully suitable for everyday use and travel. The energy for distances between 24 miles and 50 miles (depending on driving conditions) was supplied by the 16kWh lithium-ion battery, which fed the 150hp electric motor. Whenever the battery charge level reached a defined minimum, the 86hp petrol engine switched on automatically and drove a generator to power the electric motor. This type of continuous energy supply ensures carefree driving – without a charging station and with ranges of several hundred miles. The Ampera was ahead of its time and was awarded the European Car of the Year 2012 title.