Whirring inexorably towards ten thousand miles, I am feeling like a bit of an old hand. Much to the embarrassment of adolescent family members, this is best shown whenever we visit a public charge point, where some newcomer to the electric vehicle world will inevitably roll up and stare in paralysed bafflement at the inscrutable instructions on the charging station’s touchscreen.
By and large, there’s a warm vibe to life outside the fossil family and I’m happy to help tentative EV drivers, just as they helped me in my infancy. Not that I am always that much use. Take last weekend’s 220-mile pilgrimage to Wembley with my son to see England’s friendly against the Swiss. EV pundits will tell you that the best long-range plan is one meticulously made in advance. To which I grunt utter rubbish. No matter how punctiliously your plans, nothing precludes the likelihood of charge point bunfights, spaces occupied by combustion cars, diverted motorway sections, available chargers that simply don’t function, or chargers that operate only after a protracted session with a call centre. So the only sage advice is this: count on nothing, carry snacks and leave early.
So it was with that, seeing as the M4 was closed at Slough (a weekend closure that, with inspired malice, has been running since last September) our second top-up was randomly selected at Beaconsfield’s altogether not unattractive M40 service area. And being idiotic as ever, I took the plunge with a hitherto unknown supplier: Ionity. Thereby was sacrificed half an hour of App ache, followed by further testing of my son’s appetite trying, via another call centre, to get the darned system going. Note to Grant Shapps: stop talking about simplifying the charge process. Just get on with it.
All finally flowing, we stagger off to get some overpriced lunch, only to discover that Gridserve, who I use frequently and rarely with any issues, has a row of vacant bays just around the corner. The upshot of the journey, however, was that having plotted a return route via Beaconsfield, we drove home like normal people, immune for once to late-night range trauma.
Being largely a stay-at-home dad, these tribulations aren’t too frequent and, thanks to our Podpoint home charger, day-to-day life with a Mokka-e is reassuringly dull: you habitually leave it on charge; when you go out there is no issue (unless you’re heading beyond the shire, in which case return to paragraph three). All of which leaves me with increasing opportunity to move beyond the socket and consider this car’s broader pros and cons.
How we measure those, as I will lay bare in next month’s final report on our volt-driven Vauxhall, largely comes down to your own work-play needs. In a nutshell, you’ll not win any Sherlockian prizes for assuming that the Mokka-e has its work cut out as an all-embracing family motor. The boot space, after all, is just 40 litres more than you’ll find in a Corsa. And I need all that for emergency snacks!
Arrived 4th August 2021
Range 201 miles