why the deployment of 100,000 charging points is still stuck in France

Setting a quantified goal is a commendable ambition. Holding it is a whole other matter. The case of electric charging points is an emblematic example in this regard. By October 2020, Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari had promised 100,000 charging points by the end of 2021 (note that a single terminal has multiple charging points). However, it is clear that March 31, 2022 – the figures for April 30 are not yet known – the account is not there yet.

At that date, only 57,732 electric charging points were open to the public in France, according to the joint barometer of the National Association for the Development of Electric Mobility (Avere) and the Ministry of Ecological Transition based on data GIREVE, a platform created in 2013, in particular by Renault, Caisse des Dépôts, EDF Enedis.

In other words, the government’s target has only been reached with 57.7% despite the various regulations.

FILEN. Electric car: study of the “business” of charging stations.

Highways and parking lots show the way

All motorway service areas must therefore be equipped with electric charging stations before the end of 2022. For example, the motorway operator Sanef (1.957 km) launched in late 2021 a three-party tender to install around 500 fast charging points at its 72 rest areas. “We wanted to avoid errors on one and the same axis as well as white areas where no candidate would place himself”, declares its Director General Arnaud Quémard private. Result: One lot was awarded to Landline, another to Engie and another to TotalEnergies.

The latter has already inherited at the end of 2020, and this after being fired in mid-2019 from the sponsorship of the Olympic Games, from the concession of the capital’s charging stations. In a car park under the Place de la Madeleine, the energy company has already installed 505 charging points, ie in more than 50% of the existing spaces. The legal obligation is 5%, however “our equipment rate is around 20, 30% or even 50%”declares, to The Gallery, Ghislaine Geffroy, CEO of Saemes, where the municipality is the majority shareholder.

Highways, parking lots … These infrastructures are driving forces in the development of charging stations because the law obliges them to do so. On the other hand, there is nothing that obliges a local authority to use an offer in its territory. When elected officials in urban areas decide to go the route, they do so because of the low emission mobility zones (ZFE-m), which in the medium term prohibit the circulation of the most polluting vehicles.

The Yespark startup raises 28 million euros and aims for 30,000 points by 2025

The major French cities are also the core target for the young shooter Yespark, which specializes in rental parking lots. Start-up has just announced a fundraising of 28 million euros to multiply by … 60 its offer of electric charging points. It now has 500, will have installed 2,000 by the end of 2022 and promises 30,000 by the end of 2025.

In other words, with this influx of fresh money, it is preparing to quadruple, every year and for four years, its supply of vacant charging points. “We know how to orchestrate the implementation”, explain to The gallery Thibault Chary, co-founder of Yespark. “This means that we have our hands on the parking spaces, but also service provider electricians, just as we work with the network manager Enedis and the electricity suppliers”he adds.

For comparison, Indigo, which claims the place of leader worldwide in parking lots, claims, per. April 27 and in France, 1,050 electric charging points, before 2,850 by the end of 2022 and 8,000 by the end of 2025. Unlike Yespark, it is not a terminal operator and must be connected to installers such as such as Electra or Engie Solutions, a subsidiary of the same named group.

Condominiums remain a white zone

This will not prevent white areas, such as single-family homes without garages, private homes or public housing. Only 2% of condominiums are actually equipped with electric charging stations. The issue of financing can slow down the owners. Either the co-ownership presupposes the bills for installation, for compliance as well as the electricity consumption notes before the service provider re-invoices the local users.

Either a company positions itself to finance the collective installation before the resident-user signs a subscription corresponding to his electricity bill. Another option that can facilitate voting at general meetings. Especially since the “Climate & Resilience” law of August 2021 allows the vote to be taken by simple majority.

The road to deployment is therefore likely to be twisted in France. As a reminder, at European level last July, Brussels announced its ambition to install 3.5 million charging points by 2030.

Electric car: the riddle with charging stations in “white areas”