Gordon D’Arcy and the 'Magic' Opel Corsa-E

My first car was an Opel Corsa back in the autumn of 1998 – Red 1 litre five door beauty. The insurance was almost as expensive as the car. As a fledgling professional rugby player, the summer of taking the dart and lifts from teammates was finally over and I was beaming with pride driving my new car.

I was brought down to earth with a bang within my first week on the road. While dropping a few friends back to UCD, and by a few, I mean as many as would fit in the car. I was pulled over by a Garda, and as I sat in the car nervously waiting for him to arrive at my window, desperately trying to figure out what I had done wrong. The expected knock on the window eventually came, ‘Do you know why I pulled you over’? As I began my to reply ‘going too fast garda’, the smile broke through his stern face and he replied ‘too slow’ and then he laughed out loud at the clown car-esque performance going on in the back seats. I learned three things that day,

1: There is a lot of room in the back of a Corsa

2: My friends weighed a tonne

3: My boy racing days were done.

1998 Opel Corsa
Opel Corsa-E

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it certainly does rhyme, fast forward 22 years and I was back behind the wheel of a Corsa. This time the fully electric Corsa-E. I must admit I was excited pulling into the forecourt at Windsor Deansgrange Opel, mostly because I had never driven an electric car before. I popped the child seats into the back, got the quick overview including how to charge her up and I was off.

One of the first things I noticed was the different drive modes Eco, Comfort and Sport. Immediately this was going to be fun. Sitting at the next traffic lights, the Sport mode on and we pulled effortlessly and quickly off the mark. You quickly become aware of the fluid acceleration, and how different it feels to a traditional car going through the gears. Once home, my very unhelpful helpers gave the car the once over – every button pushed, wipers tested and plenty of ‘what’s this daddy?’ questions.

We decided that a trip out for ice cream was the best course of action. I was just about to press the accelerator when my daughter reminded me to turn the car on. I tried my best to explain that it was electric, and it didn’t make any noise due to a lack of combustion engine. I could see she was not impressed, so I settled on the much simpler and much more exciting answer. The car is magic! A quick wizard spell by both kids and our magic car was off.

I was passing by the Aviva on Saturday morning, need to get some juice and the charge point by Herbert park allowed me to pause and reminisce on some great days in the old Lansdowne road. Sadly, Saturday was not Leinster’s day, we were unusually slow out of the blocks and a very hungry Saracens team got one over on us. We will be back to playing with a smile on our faces in no time and knocking on Europe’s door next season.

Back to our Corsa-E, so this is a fun car from start to finish. I loved driving it, it was perfect for our family around town. Any negative impressions I might have had with electric cars were completely washed away, with a range of up to 337km, range anxiety is definitely not an issue. It’s quick to charge and extremely good value. It still takes a little while to accept there is not an exhaust pipe, I found myself occasionally looking with that sense of there is something missing. However, something that is missing and will not be missed were the engine emissions. They are gone for good with this car, and to me that is a huge attraction.

Opel Corsa-E