How to start in an electric car? Our ultimate guide to getting started

Want to learn more about electric cars, but can not find your way through all the available information? Do not panic, our complete guide allows you to see more clearly in terms of the main points. Autonomy, cost, recharging: everything will pass.

The electric car is becoming more and more important for many people looking for a new car, but a lot of information is not readily available. While well-informed buyers will undoubtedly have an excellent experience when their new electric car is in their hands, it may be completely different for those who could not have received all the necessary information.

Do not panic, we will see in this file everything that is important to keep in mind before taking the big leap towards electric mobility. Between the announced autonomy, which does not necessarily represent reality, the charging forces to be deciphered, or even the way to plan its recharges on long journeys, everything will pass. You will then be in a better position to perceive electric mobility without fear, with the important aspects in mind.

The electric car, a new philosophy

The vast majority of electric car buyers will have experience from the world of thermal cars, and many habits and preconceived ideas will be forgotten. Where a few minutes at the petrol pump was enough to get going again to sometimes almost 1,000 kilometers of autonomy, and where the temperature, wind or handling of long trips were only rarely a concern, with a car electricity that is not perfect, it will be fundamentally different.

2019 - New Renault ZOE press test in Sardinia (3)
Charging plug for Renault Zoé // Source: Jean-Brice Lemal for Renault France

If you are concerned about the ecological impact of an electric car, our dedicated file will immerse you in detail on this point and separate the true from the fake on these so-called “zero-emission” vehicles. We also remove the biggest prejudices about electric cars in our file on the subject so you can see more clearly. Finally, if you are concerned about how the increase in the number of electric vehicles will affect the French electricity network, our file on this topic is for you.

How to charge your electric car

Main source of potential concern in connection with the switch to electric: recharging. Whether it is on a daily basis or on long journeys, this is something that every owner wants to keep in mind so that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

If you have the option, we can only recommend installing a home charging solution and we have a file at your disposal that can help you define the Wallbox you need. With a charging point where the vehicle can recharge its battery when parked overnight, you will have the dual benefit of not having to worry about charging on a daily basis while driving at a limited price. Take effect, it currently only takes between two and three euros to drive 100 kilometers in a charged electric car at home.

Wallbox SB Copper
Wallbox SB Copper // Source:

Unfortunately, if it is not an option for you to recharge at home, we have a guide that will show you what the alternatives are. You will see that it is quite possible, though less comfortable, to own an electric car without having a charger at home. Be careful though, with the various public charging operators, the necessary cards and the applications to be installed, it is easy to get lost. We therefore have a dedicated file that deals with the various top-up cards that are good to have to deal with any eventuality.

In terms of fast charging, which will be primarily useful during journeys exceeding several hundred kilometers, we have an overview of the various networks established in France to help you. At this specific point, beware of manufacturers’ notifications regarding charging speeds and times. It’s actually important to keep that in mind the maximum power of fast charging is usually reached only for a very short time and it decreases as the charging progresses.

Tesla Model 3 RWD 2022 & # 8211;  9
Tesla Model 3 Propulsion Charges on an Ionity Terminal // Source: Bob JOUY for Frandroid

A vehicle that is advertised with a charging effect of e.g. 250 kW, will only achieve this power under very specific conditions (ideal temperature, optimal remaining battery level, etc.) and for a few minutes at best. Similarly, if the manufacturers announce a charging time of 10 to 80% of 30 minutes, it will be necessary to understand that also there it will only be under ideal conditions, with a sufficiently powerful charger, and that the reality could be quite different.

Do not hesitate to consult the operator Fastned’s support pages, who will no doubt answer your questions about fast charging of your vehicle. In the example below regarding a Hyundai Ioniq 5, you will especially see the explanations for the maximum power reached, and thanks to the presented charging curve you will know what power you can expect according to the car’s current battery level.

Fastned Ioniq 5
Hyundai Ioniq 5 support page on the Fastned website

Finally, the cost of fast charging is an element to keep in mind during long trips: they are usually much higher than a home charge, and the price per. 100 kilometers can increase to sometimes more than 15 euros, is approaching the price of a thermal vehicle. You will find some examples of our article on Ionity here. Finally, if you want a more detailed analysis of Tesla’s fast charging and its network of Superchargers, our overview file is there for you.

To end the long journeys, count about 20 minutes of charging for 250 kilometers traveled or 20 minutes every 2 hours. This number is only there to give you an idea of ​​how long an electric car trip will take, including the required charging times. They will generally be performed on several occasions to limit the duration (it is less time consuming to multiply small loads).

If you in a thermal vehicle were already supporters of the statutory breaks of 20 minutes every two hours, this will not have a significant impact. After two hours on the go, 20 minutes of recharging, which coincides with your break, will allow you to set off again for two hours or 250 kilometers in electric cars equipped with a battery with good capacity (over 60 kWh for sedans).

What is the range of an electric car?

Another essential element of an electric car: its range. If it is detected that for daily trips of a few 10 kilometers, any connected car will cope, the problem is very different when longer trips threaten. Many cars advertise today autonomy ranges from 300 to 600 kilometers, but this will only very rarely represent reality.

To better understand the different ways in which the theoretical range of electric cars is calculated, our dedicated file is an excellent starting point. If you need to remember one thing: imagine not driving as many miles as the car manufacturer advertises. However, there are some tips that we share if you want to play the eco-driving game and lower your energy consumption to maximize the range of your electric car, but some are difficult to apply on a daily basis.

Volvo C40 Recharge – Paris National Testing – December 2021

The consumption of an electric car varies greatly depending on certain parameters such as the outdoor temperature or the wind, but the most influential parameter is without a doubt the speed. Where some thermal cars consume less on the motorway at 130 km / h than in the city, the situation in electric cars is quite different. Expect to increase your fuel consumption significantly when traveling at high speedsgenerally about 30% more than consumption in urban areas.

On an electric car, consumption is estimated in kilowatt hours per 100 kilometers, or in watt hours per. kilometer. To draw a parallel with a thermal vehicle, if you with a 50 liter tank and a consumption of 5 liters per. 100 kilometers can drive 1,000 kilometers, an electric car with a battery capacity of 50 kWh and a consumption of 20 kilowatt hours at 100 kilometers will have a maximum range of 250 kilometers.

In mixed use, here are some examples of typical consumption according to the car category considered. Remember it this is only a rough estimateand that depending on the vehicle and the type of driving, the numbers may vary in one direction or the other.

  • City car: 12 kWh / 100 km
  • Compact: 13 kWh / 100 km
  • Sedan: 15kWh / 100km
  • Compact SUV: 17 kWh / 100 km
  • Family SUV: 20 kWh / 100 km

Help with buying an electric car

Electric cars benefit from significant tax benefits compared to their thermal counterparts, which can lower the bill significantly. In addition to the lower cost of use, a Organic bonus will be awarded in 2022 electric cars sold for less than 60,000 euros. Our complete file summarizes what you will be entitled to, depending on the case, with regard to this organic bonus.

In addition to this ecological bonus applicable to a new or used electric car, a conversion bonus is available if you scrap an old internal combustion engine vehicle when purchasing an electric car. Details of eligibility and the size of the premium are available on the government website for this purpose.

Electric car
Source: Frandroid

Of course there is no ecological penalty on electric carseven on the most powerful, which greatly benefits them when calculating the bill to be paid compared to a thermal sports car whose fine amount can sometimes exceed 10,000 euros.

Companies have a strong financial incentive to acquire an electric caras it will be exempt from TVS (tax on company cars) and the battery can be fully depreciated (between 15,000 and 30,000 euros depending on battery capacity).

Which electric car should you buy?

Finally, to move forward and help you in the decision-making process, we have many guides at your disposal that allow you to define the vehicle that suits you. We especially have a comparison of the best electric cars as well as these specialized guides:

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