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Vauxhall Mokka-e SRi Nav Premium

Third Report

A friend e-mailed, “I bet you’re feeling so smug,” as Britain gradually turned into one big queue for the fuel pumps. Range anxiety came as standard with every journey in a combustion engine car this autumn, but to imagine all EV drivers were bypassing the queues with an aloof flick of their indicators is just another stereotype of the alleged divide between EV elitists and diehard fans of petrol and derv. 

What might be nice, I feel, for combustioners to appreciate while they idle en masse for their rationed gallons, is that we all face the same challenges in being assured of readily accessible, easy energy. 

Having experienced life pre-Pod Point, before I had a home charger fitted that now enables me to wander off for a day’s journeying with no foreboding clouds ahead, living with an EV was, putting it politely, challenging. I live in a corner of the map which lags behind on easy-to-reach charge points; a fact that presents big questions to anyone who’d like to go electric, but who has no driveway. Such drawbacks must change, and maybe change quicker if our vulnerability to fuel supply issues becomes a regular pain.

But here’s a scenario that should make everyone laugh, even if I may have suffered a sense of humour failure: having enjoyed the delights of a rapid CCS charger at the M4’s Moto Reading Services westbound, I headed for the slip road only to find myself sitting for a further 40 minutes in the queue for the BP station. Further long journeys suggest, at least to me, that electric changes the way you might look at driving. Put simply, battery-driven motoring is cheaper, even if all forms of energy are racing to be top dollar. And while I still await coherent news on how much my home plus car electricity bill is (as a refugee now sheltering with EDF), I do enjoy the certainty that plugging in costs a fraction of pump prices.

A family weekend trip to London, however, sought to stress-test my EV confidence. With range topped up on the way out to prevent late-night recharging, a wretched diversion from the M4 spelt enough detour to make that second recharge compulsory – except Welcome Break Oxford had no functioning chargers, a fact I painfully established after laboriously wrestling with each one of them in the midnight drizzle. Consequently, although everyone else on board thankfully nodded off, the last leg of the journey home became a wide-eyed terror-ride, my Apollo 13 Mokka landing on planet home with just four miles of energy in its cells.

If there is any inference in this of the shine wearing off electric vehicle motoring, you’d be wrong: I adore the Mokka-e. Sure, it’s a touch bijou for a family adventure, but the cut of its jib, the thrust of its motor and finesse of its styling make every journey special; all said, it’s a fantastic ambassador for Vauxhall and it deserves a place on the auto catwalk. It’s just a shame that, as with all growing EV options out there, you have to plan each journey carefully – queues or no queues.

What's Hot

The heated steering wheel’s a joy on cold mornings. It’s on all the time!

What's Not

Lane keep assist must be manually over-ridden for each trip. On twisting lanes, it flinches at invisible dangers.

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