our advice for a long, quiet journey in an electric car

The holidays are getting closer and closer and for those who are lucky enough to leave, some will drive in electric car. Some even for the first time. How do you prepare your trip properly to anticipate recharging on a long trip?

The joke flourishes on social networks. “20 minutes charging … if you find a free terminal that works”, writes thus a user on Twitter. With just over 12% of the new car market in the first half of the year for zero-emission cars, the question arises: Will there be enough terminals on the holiday route? And more generally, how do you prepare for what will be for some, the first big ride in an electric car?

Although the market is dynamic, the total number of electric cars in circulation is still confidential. The French car fleet has 38 million cars, about 600,000 zero-emission cars. Even by adding the vehicles from our European neighbors, many of whom are going on holiday to France this year, by relating this figure to the number of terminals in operation, the account appears to be there.

More and more terminals on the highways

According to Avere, the association for the promotion of electric cars, 64,546 charging points were open to the public in France in July. This is certainly far from the target of 100,000 terminals given by the government. But on the motorway network, the goal of having fast charging stations every 60 kilometers in Europe is accelerating in the coming years.

“All service areas must be equipped with charging infrastructure by 2023, so that all service areas will be equipped, especially with fast and ultra-fast charging,” specifies BFMTV Clément Molizon, Deputy Delegate General of Avere France.

For example, on the Vinci Autoroutes network, 6 rest areas out of 10 are already equipped. 100% of the network areas by the end of 2023. The goal is to have fast charging stations every 60 kilometers in Europe in the coming years.

“This year there is no excessive risk of saturation, but one must still anticipate that there may be some waiting time in certain widely used areas,” Clément Molizon clarifies, however.

Planning your route with “A better route planner” (ABRP) can help optimize charging times. This tool is quite recognized in the electric car community because it allows you to enter a large number of parameters related to your vehicle. What to adjust the route, the stages of recharging according to the make and model.

Have some ground clearance before charging

It remains to ensure that the selected terminals work well. Avere recommends here to download the applications from several networks to optimize its journey as well as possible and to be able to return in case of a problem.

Ideally, in light of unforeseen events (waiting, terminals out of order), it is better to plan a backup solution in advance. For each stop, imagine what the nearest emergency station or terminal would be like. Always maintain a reserve autonomy of at least 50 kilometers when you arrive at the charging station.

This “reserve” is quite wide, but it is reassuring because the autonomy can quickly fall down on the highway. Avere also advises to moderate your speed on the highway, so as not to have to recharge too often. Driving outside the days with larger departures or shifting your charge outside the hours of heavy traffic can also be a trick to make it easier to secure a seat at the terminals.

Multi-operator card

Once the stages are selected, the diversity of networks can be a source of concern when paying the bill once the charge is made. The ideal is to have a multi-operator charging card such as New Motion, Chargepoint or Chargemap. The latter has 1.2 million registered members in Europe to date, with twice as many new members registered in the first 6 months of the year compared to the first half of 2021. The advantage is gaining access to many different networks in Europe: Electra, Fastned, Totalenergi or even loneliness.

The network of Tesla Superchargers is also available to users of other brands now in 13 countries. Following France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, Tesla has announced the opening of the Supercharger network for all electric cars in five more European countries: Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

How much does it cost?

Once the terminal is found, the connected car, the question of payment method evacuated, the question of price remains. How much does a fast charge cost? Here are some orders of magnitude on the Ionity network, exclusive subscription. Count 0.39 euros per. kWh with the few generic 50 kW terminals and 0.69 euros per. kWh on 350 kW terminals, for prices excluding subscriptions.

For a “full” of 40kWh (equivalent to 200 kilometers on the highway), counts 15.60 euros in 50kW and 27.60 euros in 350kW. This gives a total of 62.40 euros minimum for a journey of 800 kilometers by only charging at Ionity. All that is left is to enjoy the holiday.

Julien Bonnet with Pauline Ducamp

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