Opel Zafira-e Life
Opel packs a battery under the Zafira and thus offers a real alternative to the Mercedes EQV. Shuttle service providers in particular should take a closer look at the electric compact van.
Even when the head of a large car manufacturer crosses the Alps at the wheel of an electric vehicle, electric mobility currently makes the most sense in cities. But so far, commercial vehicles have been neglected by automobile manufacturers. That is changing now: Mercedes brings the EQV onto the market and Opel the Zafira-e. For the people of Rüsselsheim, the electric minibus is not rocket science. As with the Corsa-e, the ingredients come from the PSA group shelf. Take the EMP2 platform, garnish it with a lithium-ion battery and add an electric motor. The electric VW Bulli opponent is ready.
So that everyone gets their right Zafira-e, the Stromer is available in three lengths and with two battery sizes: 50 kilowatt hours and 75 kilowatt hours. For some traders, the version with the smaller batteries is the best choice, which promises a range of 231 kilometers. However, it is then important that you have a reliably controllable charging station. We were on the road with a Zafira-e in the M length (4.96 meters; S: 4.60 meters and L: 5.30 meters) and the large lithium-ion energy storage device. That means a standard range of 329 kilometers.
From the outside, the electrified large-capacity van can mainly be seen from the type designation and the front left loading flap. When boarding the vehicle, you can enjoy the familiar surroundings and no loss of space due to the battery that is strapped under the floor. The sliding door opens electrically and our version can accommodate up to seven people. Despite the lengthways sliding seats, it is only really cozy in the first two rows. At the very back it is already tighter.
In the cockpit, too, the driver does not expect any unpleasant surprises: there is a head-up display with a folding window, the automatic control in the usual place and the seats are comfortable. However, the classic center console and thus some practical shelves are missing. The fact that the infotainment touchscreen is only seven inches is hardly a problem. After all, we are in a commercial vehicle and not in a car with all the entertainment stuff.
As is usual with the PSA electric models, the Zafira-e offers three driving modes that have a direct impact on performance. As with the Corsa-e, “Eco” also means braked foam in the compact van, because the Zafira-e moves forward with 60 kW / 82 PS and 190 Nm. We tested this mode on the first ride and found that it is easily enough to swim along in city traffic. However, the 2,140 kilogram vehicle was empty, and fully loaded it should be slower. We used the normal mode (80 kW / 109 PS and 210 Nm) and the sport mode (100 kW / 136 PS and 260 Nm) for a short time uphill on the autobahn and to overtake and achieved a range of 319 kilometers. In the city and recuperating as often as possible, according to Opel, over 400 kilometers should be possible. To take advantage of this option, it is not enough to press the B button, then the brake has to be applied.
For the sake of completeness, the performance of the Zafira-e Life should be mentioned here: 100 km / h are reached after 13.3 seconds and the top speed is limited to 130 km / h. Opel states that the consumption is 27.3 kWh / 100 km; we achieved 32.7 kWh on the first short lap. After all, the trailer load is up to a ton (braked on a twelve percent gradient). Due to the 350 kilograms higher weight than a comparable diesel model, the springs are noticeably harder. The Opel technicians tried to compensate for this with a moderate damper setting. However, because of this, the body structure sometimes swings a little. A final assessment can only be made here when the vehicle is fully occupied.
With a base price of currently 55,904.20 euros (50 kWh) or 61,752.94 euros (75 kWh), the Zafira-e can be subsidized with 7,500 euros. You also get some helpers, including a helpful blind spot assistant and a lane assistant. It is also important that the Zafira-e has an 11 kW three-phase onboard charger (tank duration: 4.45 hours (50 kWh) or around 7 hours for the 75 kWh battery). If you use the 100 kW fast charging option, the 50 kWh batteries are 80 percent full in around 30 minutes, the 75 kWh version takes 15 minutes longer. The first models should be available from dealers at the end of the year and are definitely worth a look.