Driving report Opel Astra Electric: Expensive electric car, conventionally packaged
Many manufacturers strictly separate the new and old world. Corporations such as Hyundai and Volkswagen are now putting electric cars on their own platforms. BMW and Opel are taking a different approach. Here you can find all offered drives under one cover. This saves costs because the manufacturer does not have to maintain two parallel structures. On the other hand, it takes away the freedom in design that opens up with the switch to battery-electric drives.
This is also evident in the Astra Electric, which was available to us for a first test drive. Tight space At 4.37 m, the Astra is around 11 cm longer than a VW ID.3, but the space is noticeably smaller. Legroom is especially limited in the back seat. As a combustion engine, the Astra offers 422 liters of luggage space, while the electric car only has 352 liters. The station wagon, which will be submitted later in the fall, is intended to meet higher demands.
The Astra Electric resembles the models with combustion engines not only on the outside, but also on the inside. That’s good news because, as usual, it’s well-made and doesn’t expect its users to have any special locks when it comes to operation. Everything that you often need in everyday life can either be reached directly or can be pulled up close to the surface in the infotainment system – a model that should catch on. If Opel continues to work on voice control, there is little to complain about here.
Chassis: A successful compromise
At 1679 kg, the Astra Electric is almost 140 kg lighter than a VW ID.3 with a 58 kWh battery. That may help make it appear fairly agile on the go without stumbling on comfort. Opel has found a successful compromise between driving stability and smoothing out bumps. Even with rapid load changes, it appears very stable. Although the steering feels rather light in normal mode, the driver has good and direct feedback from the road. In the Astra with a plug-in hybrid, we had criticized the response of the brakes. This is also better in an electric car, the transition between recuperation and the service brake is gentler. The recuperation can be set in two stages: Normally, the deceleration is up to 15 kW, in B mode it is a maximum of 45 kW. What is missing is a gliding mode without recuperation.
In the WLTP, which includes charging losses, Opel specifies values between 14.8 and 15.5 kWh/100 km. That seems quite achievable, at least the on-board computer, which does not take into account the charging losses, showed values of just under 13 kWh/100 km during our moderately driven trip. That’s more than respectable, the Corsa-e isn’t significantly below it in similar conditions. Averaged over the year, the Astra Electric will probably be well above the values read at this exit.
DC charging capacity and battery
The battery capacity is specified as 54 kWh, which is supposed to be a range of between 398 and 418 km in the WLTP. On the Autobahn it should be more like 300 km. However, the Astra is not an ideal touring car for long distances anyway. Opel calls a maximum of 100 kW DC charging power. In this respect, nothing has happened with the update of the electric drive train in the past year. Opel specifies a duration of 26 minutes for refilling the 60 percent between 20 and 80 percent charge level. In an interview with Autobild, Opel CEO Florian Huettl indicated progress on this topic, without being specific. In the long term, Stellantis will have no other choice, because with a charging capacity of 100 kW, the Astra is already at the lower end of what has become normal. After all, the charger for alternating current is three-phase as standard in the Astra. In the Corsa, this acceleration costs more than 1000 euros extra. Stellantis is currently not talking about AC charging with 22 kW or bidirectional charging.
Comparatively reserved remains Opel in terms of engine performance. It is 115 kW in the Astra Electric. The really big boost with which some e-cars compete is missing here, but the compact car is of course still fast. It starts up without delay at any time and thus appears pleasantly agile. Up to 170 km/h should be possible on the motorway. It can be said that the Astra is very quiet at around 130 km/h.
Opel has opted for bold pricing. The Astra Electric costs at least 45,060 euros.
Astra Electric: Not a bargain
At the start, the Astra Electric is only available in the sporty GS version. Included here are, among other things, the comfortable heated sports seats, a parking aid with 360-degree all-round view, 18-inch aluminum and the heat pump. Opel wants additional money for things like the navigation system, matrix light or various assistants. The basic price of 45,060 euros speaks for courageous self-confidence.
The Astra is undoubtedly well insulated, properly processed, cleverly tuned, more than just sufficiently fast and easy to use – all in all a car that you enjoy driving. But when it comes to charging performance and energy content in the battery, it is not up there. Opel will have to add more here or experience how the market readjusts the real price.