car tests

Tested: a road trip with a compact EV: can it be done now? – Opel Corsa Electric

July 11, 2024

Road trip to Texel

Traveling long distances in a compact electric hatchback with three adults sounds like a nightmare to many people. For the editors, it sounds like a perfect challenge. editors Niels Janson, Wim Otten and Ruben Jason Penders chose the recently updated Opel Corsa Electric as transportation to the annual editorial outing – which this year took place on Texel. Why? To make it clear once and for all that you don’t need a big electric SUV with a huge battery pack for a road trip with your friends or family.

The starting point

It is early morning when Ruben Jason gets behind the wheel first. Starting point: Hellendoorn, just 25 kilometers from the German border. The Corsa Electric is almost fully charged and the on-board computer indicates a range of 394 kilometers, only 11 kilometers less than the official WLTP range. We drive the updated Corsa Electric – formerly known as Corsa-e – with the new battery pack. This new battery has a capacity of 51 kWh and supplies power to a 115 kW (156 hp) powerful electric motor. The “old” powertrain from the previous model is still available, with 100 kW (136 hp), 50 kWh and 357 kilometers WLTP range.

The route

From Hellendoorn to the ferry in Den Helder, the fastest route is via Drenthe and Friesland, over the Afsluitdijk. But colleague Wim Otten would like a ride and is waiting in Voorthuizen. From Hellendoorn we steer the Corsa Electric through the beautiful Sallandse Heuvelrug towards the A1 motorway. On this winding, scenic route, with lots of elevation gain by Dutch standards, the Corsa Electric feels in its element. It steers nice and direct and is tight on the road. In Sport mode, you have all 156 horsepower at your disposal and the little Vauxhall feels nice and smooth thanks to the readily available torque.

View from the driver's perspective in an Opel Corsa Electric, showing the steering wheel, dashboard and a long way ahead through the windshield on an overcast day.
The Opel Corsa Electric on the Salland Ridge

Highway miles

After a solid twenty minutes of sporty cornering, it’s time for serious travel miles. At Holten, we send the hatchback up the A1. An hour later, we turned onto the Voorthuizen exit. and editor Wim lives in the outlying area, so we have to steer another ten minutes indoors. After a quick driver change, we are back on the A1 just under half an hour later, heading for Hoorn, where Niels is waiting.

A highway view with moving vehicles, including an Opel Corsa Electric. A blue sign indicates the Stroë and Harselaar exits in 600 meters, towards N303. Trees line the road and the sky is overcast: an ideal setting for a quiet road trip.
Close-up of the taillight of an Opel Corsa Electric with a modern building and a road sign for Voorthuizen, municipality of Barneveld in the background on a clear day.

Morning rush hour

It’s still early and we want to avoid the rush hour around Amsterdam. Therefore, we choose to drive to North Holland via Lelystad and the Markerwaarddijk right through the IJsselmeer. This imposing dike, better known as the Houtribdijk, was constructed between 1963 and 1976 and separates the Markermeer from the IJsselmeer. An hour and a half after our departure from Voorthuizen, we arrive in Hoorn, where Niels takes over the wheel from Wim.


“Comfort with the C of Corsa, that’s what I have to think of to give a first impression of the driving character. It is nice and quiet in the Vauxhall Corsa Electric, of course I would say, and that also contributes to comfort. The seats sit well, but I can imagine taller people prefer just a bit more legroom. I catch myself secretly keeping a constant eye on the range. After all, the drive is long and we want to keep charging in between. Energy consumption is efficient if you don’t accelerate too hastily and don’t exceed 100 km/h on the highway. That’s when you get the farthest with this updated Opel Corsa.”

A man drives an Opel Corsa Electric on an open road under partly cloudy skies. The dashboard and interior of the compact EV are visible. Someone else's legs can be seen on the passenger seat, enjoying the road trip. editor Wim Otten

Big enough?

For our editorial outing to Texel, we brought quite a bit of luggage: three large weekend bags and backpacks. At 267 liters, the boot of the electric Corsa is smaller than that of the gasoline variant, but everything fits nicely in the back. Going on vacation for weeks with a small family? Then you will have to pack creatively.

A trunk containing a yellow duffel bag, a gray backpack, a black backpack, a blue backpack and a brown leather bag: perfectly packed for your long road trip in the compact and efficient Opel Corsa Electric.

Second row of seats?

In the back, you sit well as an adult up to 6 feet tall. Your legs just barely touch the front seats and there is plenty of headroom. For a trip to southern Europe, you’d rather sit in the front, but a long road trip within the Netherlands is just fine.

View from the back seat of a car shows a driver in a black hoodie driving the Opel Corsa Electric, with beige pants visible from the perspective of the passenger in the back seat. This compact EV is perfect for a long road trip and makes for an eco-friendly journey. editor Niels Janson steers the Corsa Electric toward Den Helder.


By now we have been on the road for over three hours. It is busy – the aftermath of the morning rush hour – and we keep neatly to the speed limit. The Corsa’s new powertrain appears to be a lot more fuel-efficient than the old one. The stated range of nearly 400 kilometers turns out – as is always the case with an EV – to be too optimistic. It is hot and the air conditioning is running at full power, so it slurps quite a bit of power – thou kilometers – from the battery pack. Still, we reach Den Helder without any problems.


Despite its compact dimensions, the Corsa sits firmly on the road, helped by the low center of gravity of the battery pack. As a result, you do not have the idea of being on the road with a small car. When I rode along in the back on the way back, I wasn’t too bad about how tight it is there, although indeed you don’t have to be much taller than 6 feet. Furthermore, the range did not prove to be a limiting factor during our road trip, somewhat against expectations.

Short recharge

After some 250 kilometers, we arrive in the northernmost city in North Holland. There’s a scant 100 kilometers left in the battery. A neat score. We still have 45 minutes before the ferry to Texel leaves. We find a 50 kW charger and hang the Corsa on it for 15 minutes. Although the car can charge twice as fast as the pole can deliver, 100 fresh miles still flow into the battery in a short time.  

A person charges his light gray Opel Corsa Electric at an electric vehicle charging station in a parking lot. editor Ruben Jason writes his test notes during a brief loading stop in Den Helder

After the short charge, we park the Corsa at the parking lot next to the ferry to Texel. 24 hours later – and a successful outing further – we pick it up again. The 15-minute fast charge a day earlier proved to be a smart move. We can drive through Hoorn to Voorthuizen without a loading stop. There, the Corsa slurps up another ten minutes of power at the Fastned charger along the A1 motorway, before driving in a single stroke to Hellendoorn, where there are still 130 kilometers in the battery upon returning home.

A gray car, possibly an Opel Corsa Electric, is parked near a large ship named


Much has changed in recent years. Just a few years ago, traveling long distances with a compact EV was an adventure. But thanks to tremendous advances in battery technology and with the advent of more efficient electric motors, even compact EVs today have longevity and can charge smoothly.

In total, the Corsa only needed about 25 minutes of fast charging to complete the round trip. If there had been a charging station at the ferry terminal, it wouldn’t even have been necessary. Not for a moment did we doubt we would make it. Indeed, we hardly gave any thought to the fact that we were traveling with a small EV.

What does he cost?

The updated Opel Corsa comes from 23,349 euros for the entry-level gasoline model. For the Corsa Electric, the Germans charge a minimum of 34,999 euros (136 hp and 357 kilometers of range) and 37,999 euros (156 hp and 405 kilometers of range). Knowing more? Check out the video we made with the compact German EV earlier this year: