Mokka helps us switch to electric

It was something of a first for me, A venture into the unknown with a lime green electric vehicle which I knew would need a recharge en route.

One of the best-looking electric vehicles around
One of the best-looking electric vehicles around

This is a Mokka e, an electric version of Vauxhall’s popular SUV and a car which is helping persuade more of us to switch from petrol or diesel to electric.

I’m half way there. I have an electric charger in my driveway, which works like a dream. But what happens when you’re heading over the Pennines to Cheshire.

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My mission was to go and test a Suzuki, which you may have read about in last week’s paper. The journey was 84.8 miles and the Mokka-e has a range of 201 miles, so there shouldn’t be a problem.

The charge point

And there wasn’t. It got me there OK but I didn’t have 117 miles or so left, more like 40. Not the end of the world but I decided not to use the built-in gadget to find the nearest chargepoint.

Instead, I headed for Tesco in the belief that all major stores have access to a chargepoint. Wrong! Most Tesco’s do, but not the one I found in Chester. By now, the range was ever diminishing and – goodness knows how – I was down to less than 10 miles when I found a chargepoint at Chester racecourse.

It was my fault entirely but I could feel the anxiety as the range dropped and dropped. I passed no end of conventional garages but none have the foresight – or desire – to install a charger. I guess the last thing a filling station wants is its forecourt cluttered by plugged in cars. After all, even the quickest chargers take much, much longer than filling up with petrol or diesel.

So, am I an EV (electric vehicle) fan? Actually, I am. I love the way they pick up speed quickly, the way they ride and handle and the way they recharge for a fraction of the cost of a full tank of fuel.

Sleek

I should have trusted in the car’s ability to guide me to a charging station in an unfamiliar city rather than thinking I knew best. But we certainly need more charging stations – every little retail park, shopping centre and public car park should have one or more.

The Mokka-e is a well-appointed and easy to love car. It has space, a fabulous dashboard and good looks. It is a bulky SUV but it has a sporty stance. Not sure I’d choose the lime green (Vauxhall call it Mamba Green) but it’s certainly eye-catching.

This model claimed 201 miles in range, which I failed to manage. Some of it may be my driving style, the heavy traffic on my route and Yorkshire’s hills which all take a toll on the battery.

It is a well-equipped car with a 10in screen satellite navigation, USB connections front and rear, Bluetooth audio streaming and mobile phone portal, six-speakers and a fabulous 12in instrument panel.

It has heated front seats, alloy pedals and a flat-bottomed steering wheel which makes it feel more like a car than a van.

The LED lights are literally brilliant and it comes with Active Driver Assist Plus which alerts the driver if drowsiness is detected, or if a forward impact is predicted. It has adaptive cruise control and emergency city braking, meaning the car will stop if it predicts an impact in urban driving.

Newer Mokka-e models now offer a slightly longer range.

Corsa-e and Mokka-e rise to 222 miles and 209 respectively, which might not be a vast leap but you can see where this is going. Before long, you can see 250 or 300-mile ranges and anxieties will evaporate.

The range increases have been achieved through the “optimisation of the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) and propulsion systems of the Corsa-e and Mokka-e”.

Available to buyers across its electric car and van range, including Corsa-e and Mokka-e, Vauxhall’s new Plug & Go offer includes a free home charging unit, eight years’ roadside assistance and battery warranty, a free six-month BP Pulse subscription and three years’ free servicing. The Plug & Go offer helps remove the barriers to making the switch to electric and simplifies the EV ownership experience.

Corsa-e and Mokka-e form part of the British brand’s comprehensive electrification offensive. Vauxhall will offer an electrified variant across its entire model line-up by 2024 and will have a fully electric vehicle range by 2028 – ahead of the UK Government deadline.

Across cars and LCVs, Vauxhall already offers five fully-electric models and, following the launch of All-new Astra, two plug-in hybrid models. One of those fully-electric models, All-new Combo-e, lands on UK shores around now, completing Vauxhall’s fully-electrified LCV line-up.

Mokka combines a smooth silhouette, smart technology and the revolutionary Vauxhall Vizor front grille for a bold new look.

Inside the cabin, a minimalist approach ensures an uncluttered look and feel, while the high seating position gives an elevated view of the road. Outside, the compact shape makes it ideal for city driving, with sharp, modern lines that really stand out.

For those who prefer to buy online, the Vauxhall Online Store brings the brand’s showroom experience straight into the comfort of buyers’ homes. Customers can arrange a live video viewing of their vehicle via the Vauxhall Virtual Showroom and proceed to the online store to configure their vehicle, personalise finance payments, and place an order, all from home.

There’s even a ‘14 Day Return Guarantee’ for vehicles bought via the online store, giving buyers up to two weeks to try their new car.

Vauxhall Mokka-e Elite Nav Premium

Price: £32,080 including £2,500 plug-in car grant.

Motor: A 100kW, 136ps electric motor with a 50kWh lithium-ion battery and an automatic gearbox and front wheel drive

Range: 201 miles

Performance: Top speed 93mph and 0 to 60mph in 8.7 seconds

Emissions: 0

Insurance Group: 22E

Warranty: Eight years, 100,000 miles battery warranty