Vauxhall Mokka-e long-term test: report 4

Vauxhall’s smallest SUV is back and is now available as an electric car for the first time. We’re finding out what it’s like to live with...

Vauxhall Mokka-e Shell Charging

The car Vauxhall Mokka-e 50kWh Elite Nav Premium Run by Neil Winn, Hubs Editor

Why we’re running it To find out how easy it is to go electric and to see how well the Mokka-e stacks up against an ever-increasing number of small electric SUV rivals

Needs to Be practical, deliver a relaxing driving experience and have a long enough range to be viable as an only car

Mileage 1350 List price £34,580 (not including £2500 gov’t grant) Target Price £33,142 Price as tested £35,230 Test range 151 miles Official range 201 miles

8 October 2021 – What fuel crisis?  

During the recent fuel panic, when filling stations up and down the country ran out of petrol, I saw friends and family suffering from range anxiety in their conventional cars – a rather novel experience. However, without the ability to charge my fully electric Vauxhall Mokka-e at home, the smugness I felt turned out to be short-lived. Let me explain.

Despite living in an affluent London suburb where every third car now appears to be electric, there is a surprising lack of fast public chargers nearby. Indeed, the closest one to me is a 150kW Shell Recharge unit that is 20 minutes away. 

It is located on a well-lit forecourt, though, so shortly after taking delivery of my Mokka-e, I ordered a Shell Recharge fob (you have to register your credit card details online) to make the charging process a little more straightforward.

Vauxhall Mokka-e Fuel Station

Driving onto the forecourt during the panic I was first met with a ‘Sorry, No Fuel’ sign – cue said smugness as I drove around the hastily constructed barrier. I then proceeded to park the Mokka-e in the generously sized bay, scanned my fob on the machine and plugged in, only to find that I wasn’t receiving any charge.

I figured it must be down to the fob, so I repeated the start-up process again with my contactless debit card. The machine appeared to accept the card but, once again, when I checked the digital instruments inside the Mokka-e, no charge was being delivered.

In the end, I called the helpline number on the side of the machine and was told by an apologetic customer service representative that it had been out of order for a number of days.

Oh well, I thought, I’ll just have to drive back home and use the slower Type 2 7kW Source London charger that is located on the street near my flat. Usually, I try to avoid this, because you are charged by the minute, not by the kW delivered, however by this point I was pretty desperate for a charge. 

Mercifully, when I arrived the bay in front of the unit was free, so I hastily grabbed my Type 2 cable out of the boot and scanned the QR code on the machine with my smartphone. This then directed me to the Source London website where I could input my card details; a lengthy process, but one that I was happy to go through provided it worked.

Mokka-e LT trying to charge

After selecting the correct charging location on my phone and hitting ‘Start charge’ I plugged the car in and waited for the surge of electrons to make their way to the Mokka-e’s battery. But, sadly, they never came.

After much unplugging and replugging and even changing payment cards without success, I gave the Source London helpline a call. Once again, I was told that the machine I was trying to use had been out of order for a few days. 

So, I accepted defeat, drove to the What Car? office in the Mokka-e and popped it on a slow charge from a wall box. Now, luckily, thanks to my line of work there were alternative vehicles to go home in – an option that I’m very aware wouldn’t be open to all electric car owners. And what did I take? A fully-fuelled diesel Toyota Land Cruiser. The future, eh?

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