The electric car put to the test of a new life

A few years ago, I took on the role of press officer to assess the interest in using an electric car to get by early in the morning and deliver their daily newspaper to the subscribers. Today, another life-size test begins by changing the place of life.

Municipality with 4,000 inhabitants

Children who have grown up and left home, the need to give up my former home after a death, the need to get closer to reporting sites, the desire to test a life by moderating my impact on the environment, and here I am in a charming a hundred-year-old house that integrates a perimeter classified by the buildings of France.

The housing situation is ideal. Already with a weekly market starting at 200 m. The bank, the post office, the insurance company, 3 bakeries, the butcher, the press depot and many other shops within a radius of 400 m. And above all, the building is located between 2 supermarkets less than a kilometer away. In short, the whole of everyday life can be done on foot.

Before I lived in the heart of this city with just over 4,000 inhabitants, I lived in the countryside. It was therefore necessary to take the car to get the bread for example, even though I took enough for 7 to 10 days.

House without land

In the old yard where I lived before, I could have parked well over twenty cars. Performing a refill in the shelter and without risk was definitely no problem. A framework totally opposite to my new situation. My house is a semi-detached house on 3 sides. Yes, yes, it does exist! There is no land or garage. In front is one of the main streets.

However, I found a box about 700 m away in a new home. It is part of a plot including an apartment and 2 enclosed parking spaces. One is rented out with this accommodation for a couple. This allowed me to restore the other box, but with no hope of being able to recharge my EV there.

However, I made the choice to establish myself permanently under these conditions. I have been driving an electric car since 2007, 15 years now. Will it find its place in this new life, or will I have to go back to a thermal model to make my business trips, especially for reporting purposes, and occasional private trips?

Suspended from the bollard on the road

In my imperatives that guided my implementation, there was the presence of a garage attached to the house with at least one household plug. I have always recharged my electric cars this way, without a wallbox or a specifically reinforced plug. But being able to handle everything on foot was the strongest. Likewise, I was thinking of refusing a house with a thermal boiler. However, it is a gas model that heats the house.

The aerothermics were not possible near the neighbors. The boiler is fortunately new and of the latest generation. But there it is off, of your choice. We’ll see how long the 56-year-old endures taking cold showers in the morning. And by the way, the boiler on the gas stove is fine. In 2 or 3 minutes I have 1.5 liters of hot water for the dishes.

How about charging the Kia Soul EV? There is the terminal on the road, built in one of the main parking lots. It is of course unavailable in the morning at the market and during special events.

An ideal charging network?

Question recharging, the energy association of Ille-et-Vilaine, in Brittany, is doing pretty well. Its network is linked to a contract with Enercoop. I had also chosen this cooperative as an electricity supplier when I started when I switched to electromobility. At the time, I did not want to connect my 1996 Renault Clio to a nickel-cadmium battery with nuclear power.

Today, when the complexity of the energy markets is pressured by repeated crises (Covid-19, war in Ukraine, suspension of Nord Stream 2, etc.), Enercoop, of which I am still a member, had to decide to use ARENH (regulated access for historical nuclear electricity) for 3 years from next year. But this is a different story.

The prices shown by the Ouest Charge network, on which the Béa terminals on SDE35 depend, are compatible with the frequent use of local electric drivers who subscribe: 0.22 euros per person. kilowatt hour in AC, 0.33 euros for DC 50 kW chargers and 0.55 euros for high power.

A fragile choice?

The big mistake at the 22 kW AC terminals in this area is that the power is divided by 2 if 2 electric cars are charged simultaneously. Imagine, for example, a Renault Zoé and a Kia e-Soul. Only the first would make maximum use of the power of the terminal. The other would limit it for the built-in charger, that is, at best almost 7 kW. But if the 2 are connected at the same time, these numbers fall at best to 11 and 3.5 kW, respectively.

Difficult in this case to predict the duration of recharging, which can therefore go from 7 to more than 14 hours with a package already well emptied on the Korean. To date, I have not been confronted with this situation very often. In addition, with a 64 kWh battery, it is relatively easy to maintain a sufficient energy level to make a round trip of 100-150 km.

Few other terminals in the city: 1 hour for free in a supermarket car park and a wallbox in a shop specializing in do-it-yourself. On the other hand, other Béa terminals are available in surrounding municipalities for troubleshooting. And there are 3 fast chargers within 20 km. A priori, and when there are not many more electric motorists in my case locally, access to charging should be relatively easy.

And after ?

If this road terminal were to be inaccessible for a long time, things could quickly become problematic. First encouraging point, it has had 2 Type 2 connectors for a few weeks. Type 3 connectors have been replaced, in accordance with an operation announced and still underway in the department this July.

In 12 months, I will publish a small report after a year in the shoes of an electric car driver who does not have a personal opportunity to charge his electric car. At the border, if there was an electric car sharing service in this municipality with models with sufficient autonomy (battery of at least 45-50 kWh), I would no longer need to have my own vehicle. .

This experience should be compared to the words of the mayor of Trilport in the Seine-et-Marne, who a few days ago announced to the news program TF1 that he had installed a terminal in the heart of his city to increase local trade. What about resident electric motorists who do not have an electrical outlet available at home? Will this terminal be banned for them under the pretext that their car would mobilize the place for hours to the detriment of the hairdresser and baker nearby?

Should a charging station be established by a community to promote electric mobility or to promote local trade? If it were to be both, then more models would be needed, including a minimum of 50 kW. To meditate!

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