The world’s first mass-produced electric rally car

The 2020 Opel Corsa-e Rally is an all-electric rally car based on the sixth-generation Corsa hatchback, which now offers an EV version called the Corsa-e. The all-electric hatchback was developed specifically for a one-make series run by the German manufacturer in Europe. The race-spec hatchback is very similar to the road-going Corsa-e, with only small updates on the outside and a revised suspension. The electric drivetrain is identical to the road car’s setup. The interior, on the other hand, includes a handful of race-spec features. The Corsa-e Rally is the world’s first mass-produced electric rally car.

Exterior

  • Almost identical to road car
  • Bigger front bumper vent
  • Quick-release hood fasteners
  • Race-spec wheels
  • Competition tires
  • Revised rear bumper
left right
Up front, Opel redesigned the bumper to include a much wider intake

Design-wise, the Corsa-e Rally looks a lot like the street-legal production model. This isn’t surprising given that all rally cars are based on road-going models. However, the Corsa-e doesn’t feature the rally-specific elements usually seen on WRC-spec cars, like flared fenders, overly aggressive bumpers, and a rear wing. Save for minor modifications, the Corsa-e Rally is just as mundane as the regular Corsa.

Although mild, these changes are easy to spot. Up front, Opel redesigned the bumper to include a much wider intake. The side outlets were also enlarged, but these elements are there for looks only, as they don’t provide any cooling to the internals. They look cool though and give the hatchback a more aggressive look. The main grille features a unique honeycomb design, while the front hood includes quick-release fasteners. Other than that, the front fascia is the same as on the standard Corsa.

2020 Opel Corsa-e Electric Rally Car Exterior
- image 857081
The multi-spoke rims are lighter than the usual rollers and are wrapped in competition tires

The same goes for the profile, which doesn’t stand out with anything except for the race-specific wheels. The multi-spoke rims are lighter than the usual rollers and are wrapped in competition tires.

There isn’t much to talk about as far as the rear fascia goes either. The rally car looks identical from the tailgate spoiler to the bumper. Only the lower apron sets it apart thanks to a bigger license plate recess that includes a small diffuser. The tailgate features quick-release fasteners while the bumper includes a tow hook.

left right

But although it looks almost the same as the road car, the Corsa-e Rally features a lighter body-in-white and enhanced underbody protection for the engine and transmission.

Interior

  • Similar to road car
  • Integrated roll cage
  • Electric fire extinguisher
  • HV safety warning system
  • Race-spec seats
  • Competition seatbelts
  • No rear seats
2020 Opel Corsa
- image 840733

Opel has yet to release photos of the interior, but it’s safe to assume that it’s identical to the road car save for the motorsport-specific features. The German firm says it comes with an integrated roll cage, an electric fire extinguisher, and a motorsport display with data-logger. It also features a new high-voltage safety warning system. Other features different from the road car should include race-spec seats with multi-point seatbelts and most likely a rear-seat delete.

Drivetrain

  • Same drivetrain as road car
  • Electric motor
  • 50-kWh battery
  • 130 horsepower
  • 260 Nm of torque
  • 0-62 in less than 8 seconds
  • Top speed of 93 mph
  • Upgraded suspension
  • Race-spec brakes
2020 Opel Corsa
- image 840735
The electric motor generates 130 horsepower and 260 Nm (192 pound-feet) of torque

The rally car features the exact same electric motor as the road-going car. Powered by a 50-kWh battery, the motor generates 130 horsepower and 260 Nm (192 pound-feet) of torque. There’s no word as to how quick the Corsa-e Rally is, but we know that the road car hits 62 mph in 8.1 seconds. Given that the rally car is some 130 pounds lighter, it should get to 62 mph quicker, most likely in around 7.9 seconds.

No word on top speed either, but it shouldn’t be much higher than the road car. The regular Corsa-e hits 93 mph. Although it might not seem like a lot for a rally car, it actually isn’t bad given how many slow corners these vehicles need to tackle during a race.

2020 Opel Corsa-e Electric Rally Car Exterior
- image 857082

While the motor is stock, some chassis components have been replaced with higher performance parts. The Corsa-e Rally features a Torsen differential, a rally-spec suspension with McPherson strut and unibal joints in the front, and four-piston brake calipers on all four corners.

Opel didn’t say a word about range either. Since the road-legal Corsa-e can travel for up to 290 km (180 miles), it’s safe to assume that the rally car will have a shorter range. These cars are usually pushed to their limits, so range will drop dramatically to less than 200 km (124 miles).

2020 Opel Corsa-e drivetrain specifications
Engine electric
Horsepower 130 HP
Torque 192 LB-FT
Battery pack 50 kWh
Range 330 km (205 miles)
0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) 8.1 seconds
0 to 50 km/h (32 mph) 2.8 seconds

Price

2020 Opel Corsa-e Electric Rally Car Exterior
- image 857084

Available from Opel Motorsport, the Corsa-e Rally will "cost less" than £46,000 in the United Kingdom and less than €50,000 in mainland Europe. For reference, the road-going Corsa-e retails from £26,490, including the Government’s £3,500 Plug-in Car Grant.

Competition

2020 Opel Corsa-e Electric Rally Car Exterior
- image 857078

The Corsa-e Rally will compete against itself in the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup. This is the first brand cup for electric cars, the EV equivalent of the already popular ADAC Open Rallye Cup. The competition will kick off in the summer of 2020 with 15 electric Corsas on the starting grid.

Final Thoughts

2020 Opel Corsa-e Electric Rally Car Exterior
- image 857080

Although it’s not a rally car in the true sense, with aggressive aerodynamics and a more powerful engine (or motor), the Corsa-e Rally is a cool idea that introduces EVs on the rally scene. With road-going cars adopting electrification in just about every segment, the rally scene will soon go the EV way as well. We already have Formula E and hybrid cars at Le Mans, so it won’t be long until the World Rally Championship opens up its very own electric division. With that in mind, it seems that Opel is making a big step towards the future. One might argue that the Corsa-e Rally isn’t powerful enough, but I think Opel is trying to make a point by offering an affordable rally car for young drivers. Once the series kicks off, Opel and other automakers will probably develop full-fledged rally EVs for future competitions.

  • Leave it
    • Not so different from the road car
    • Standard drivetrain

Further reading

2020 Opel Corsa
- image 840734

Read our full review on the 2020 Opel Corsa-e.

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: