Where should you charge your electric car on the highway?

At the beginning of the summer, 60% of the service areas had a fast-charging station. It will be 100% in a few months.

“Can we go on holiday in an electric car? This is a topic that has become a classic in the summer news. The answer lies in one element: charging. Because even though it is easy to drive electrically on your daily travels, 90% of the owners of an electric model who refuels at home, still worried about taking the long journey that will take them to their resort.

Fortunately, from year to year it is easier to recharge your vehicle during a trip thanks to the development of the network of terminals. At the end of June, there were 64,546 charging stations open to the public in France, ie about 20,000 more in one year.

And when we think of vacation, we think of the highway. From 1 January 2023, all service areas on the high-speed network will have a charging station, a decree published in early 2021 setting out this obligation. The spread has therefore accelerated in recent months. At the beginning of the summer of 2022, 219 rest areas were equipped, ie 60% of them in the network under concession. This is almost double compared to the spring of 2021.

And when we think of highway, we think of speed. It is obvious that on this type of road you need powerful terminals that allow you to regain autonomy as quickly as possible. 70% of the charging points on the motorway deliver at least 150 kW.

Where to find them? There are, of course, online maps. Each network will have its own (see below), while websites will gather all the information. This is the case with Chargemap (which belongs to the same group as Automobile Propre), which offers a map with all charging points.

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Plan your trip

For these different sites, tools allow you to fine-tune your search, especially depending on the type of connector and the maximum charging power supported by your car. There is also the terminal provider, another variable which is important depending on your possible subscriptions and payment methods, especially as the number of players on French motorways is increasing. In addition to terminals with names of tankers, in particular Total or Shell, there are of course specialists in the genre, such as Ionity, or the newcomer Fastned, which stretches across the highways of the northeastern quarter. Not to mention Tesla, which opened some of its terminals to everyone at the beginning of the year.

Chargemap also offers a mobile application that allows you to plan your trip and thus find the most suitable stops. We also remember that on a long journey, even if your car has a good range, a break every two hours is required. This is therefore an opportunity to refill a good portion of your vehicle’s tank, or even fill it up quickly, with some stations offering 300 kW points.

If the terminals are already present at fairly regular intervals, you may still see some gaps. Example of the A89 between Brive and Bordeaux. Do not panic, then look at what is near the highway. Thus at Périgueux, 500 meters after exit 15, there is an Ionity station in a car park car park.

The concern already points to the availability of terminals on weekends with larger departures, while the number of electric vehicles in circulation is rising sharply (electricity accounted for 12% of sales in France in the first half of 2022). The decree on the installation of terminals in the areas imposes at least four high-speed terminals (150 kW mini), a figure that many areas are currently satisfied with. Crossovers from the summer of 2022 will serve as a first real test of participation.

Useful links to find a charging station on the highway

  • Vinci Autoroutes network: A7, A8, A9, A10, A11, A61, A62, A64, A85, A89 …
  • APRR / AREA network: A5, A6, A31, A36, A39, etc.
  • SANEF / SAPN network: A1, A4, A16, A26, A29 …
  • Charmmap

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