our advice so that the adventure does not turn into a nightmare

Refill

Where to recharge? This crucial question worries any motorist in an electric car as soon as he leaves his “comfort zone”. On a daily basis, recharging the battery is actually not complicated as long as you organize yourself. This means you can take advantage of an electrical outlet (or even better a Wallbox) at home or in your condominium, possibly be able to connect to your workplace, or even use a public terminal, including while shopping, more and more cities and brands that offer this service. The most important thing is to have a good recharge card, and not just the one that the manufacturer provides, with a subscription that is often paid for a year after the purchase of the vehicle. It is indispensable, it offers advantageous prices with a price per. kWh, which will avoid unpleasant surprises. However, as there is no legislation yet for universal access to terminals, we recommend a Chargemap-type badge (€ 19.90 for purchase, then payment for consumption). In any case, forget about credit card payment, yet so simple, which is more the exception than the rule in France, while Germany should make it mandatory next year. Another concern, prices are not regulated. This means that you must be on guard between the price per. kWh or per minute, knowing that some operators sanction drivers who “vacuum” their vehicle at a terminal …

Renault Zoe.© Renault

Filling up with watts is especially more complicated during long journeys, an exercise where Tesla maintains its lead at the moment. The American manufacturer has in fact relied on its own network (134 superchargers currently in France), where it supplies quickly. Apart from a dozen stations in France, which are being tested and open to competition, but at high prices – except after signing up for a Tesla subscription – these terminals are therefore mainly reserved for customers of the American brand. This is an asset in case of heavy traffic during holidays or long weekends, because other “fast” networks, such as Ionity, which are open to all, may indirectly be more subject to fast saturation. In any case, the biggest black spot remains the network of high-speed terminals, largely inadequate in Europe as in France, but the second-best country after the Netherlands. According to figures published in 2021 by the ACEA (Association of European Automobile Manufacturers), less than 10% of French terminals deliver a power of more than 22 kW. If things have improved since then, there is still a lot to do …

Pay your top-up: be smart!

One year of free and unlimited charging at Ionity terminals, but only in France!
One year of free and unlimited charging at Ionity terminals, but only in France!© BMW

If you immediately know how much you have to pay at the pump, it is less obvious with electricity. pr. kWh? minute? This is important because we do not want to dwell on a terminal that charges over time after regaining 80% autonomy. In fact, the last percentages are the longest to charge on a watt car. And then, if you want to extend your charging break, be aware that some service providers penalize “suck” vehicles (from 50 cents to € 1 per minute, that makes you think, right?). In addition, in order to recharge, in the absence of a credit card reader, you need to have the right recharge cards to prevent the operation from costing a fortune.. Example: the public price at Ionity is € 0.69 per. kWh on a very fast charger (€ 0.39 on a 50 kW terminal), knowing that these prices will be applied from 1 July. with a speed of 50 kWh recharged (in about 30 minutes), this therefore gives a full tank for € 34.50 (for less than 200 km of autonomy regained on the highway).

This is a cost equivalent to a petrol car consuming on average more than 8 l / 100 km with fuel of 2 € / liter.

Not super economical. However, Ionity offers a subscription (€ 17.99 / month with a 12-month commitment), which lowers kWh to € 0.35. Manufacturers also offer their own cards. At Kia, for example, two are offered, which makes it possible to subscribe to the “Ionity Power” option for € 13 / month, where the price per. minute drops to € 0.29. This will interest the large rollers accustomed to the highway network. For all the others, it will be necessary to take the calculator rather than finding the most profitable formula according to its use.

Compare the real autonomy of the best electric cars according to our standardized measuring cycle. Battery capacity, consumption, autonomy, we tell you everything!

Planners

A GPS +: this is what the route planner is. To make long journeys easier and reduce the driver’s stress, the driver will tell you where and for some how long you need to stop to recharge.. The most modern or recently updated even go so far as to tell you which terminals are free. Programming the destination also allows the car to precondition its battery (temperature, charge level) to be charged as quickly as possible and therefore shorten the waiting time. Note that in order to be effective, these systems are permanently connected to the Internet. If manufacturers in most cases donate data costs the first year or years after purchase, then you need to have fingers in your wallet.

Developed with partners like Google for Renault Mégane Electric, the device can indicate the estimated remaining range during the future stop and during the entire journey the nearby terminals. At Tesla, it is an internal system that handles. It favors the network of chargers of the brand with priority, the superchargers, but it is often necessary to leave the highway to access it. Incidentally, note that these co-pilots are not infallible. The whims of the traffic, respect for the driver’s speed and, even worse, variation in temperature are very influential parameters …

The electric Renault Megane.
The electric Renault Megane.© Renault

Applications: essential aids!

If you are considering buying an electric car, your smartphone will prove to be essential. With the inevitable and very practical applications offered by the manufacturers, which permanently connect you to your electricity, the mobile phone is the best ally of the “watt” driver.. Among other functionalities, it is for example possible and external to (unlock) the doors, monitor the load (just to monitor any interruptions), start the heating or air conditioning to save precious kWh per. departure, or program a full watt during peak hours.

In the game about the one that offers the most, the Tesla app allows many other features, such as monitoring the car and its surroundings via cameras, or even deterrence by remotely tooting the horn when approaching thieves. Apps that show charging stations and offer route planners are useful as a supplement. They make it possible to cross-check the information in the vehicles’ integrated multimedia systems to ensure the presence and sometimes the availability of the terminals. Without forgetting, in some cases, the pricing, which can avoid certain disappointments.

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