4 Simple Tips to Avoid Nightmares

Fill up

Where to recharge? This crucial question, every driver of an electric car worries as soon as he leaves his “comfort zone.” In fact, recharging the battery on a daily basis is not complicated, as long as you get organized. This means benefiting from a plug (or better yet a Wallbox) at home or in the condominium itself, possibly being able to connect to the workplace, or even use a public terminal, even during the purchase, each more and more towns and brands are offering this service. . The most important thing is to have a good top-up card, and not just one provided by the manufacturer, with a subscription, often paid for a year after the purchase of the vehicle. Essential, it offers preferential rates with a price per kWh that will avoid unpleasant surprises. But, as there is still no legislation for universal access to terminals, we recommend a Chargemap badge (€ 19.90 for purchase, then payment for consumption). Forget in any case the credit card payment, but so simple, that it is more the exception than the rule in France, while Germany should make it mandatory next year. Another concern is that prices are not regulated. This means that you have to be careful between the price per kWh or per minute, knowing that some operators penalize drivers who “vacuum” their vehicle in a terminal …

The Renault Zoe.© Renault

Filling up with watts is especially tricky during long trips, an exercise where Tesla maintains its leadership for the time being. The American manufacturer has, in fact, opted for its own network (134 superchargers currently in France), where it is supplied quickly.. Apart from a dozen stations in France, which are being tested and open to competition, but at high prices – except after subscribing to a Tesla subscription – these terminals are therefore mainly reserved for customers of the American stamp. This is an asset in the event of heavy traffic during the holidays or long weekends, because other “fast” networks, such as Ionity, open to everyone, may be indirectly more subject to rapid saturation. In any case, the main black spot remains the network of fast terminals, largely insufficient in Europe as in France, but the second best country behind the Netherlands.. According to figures published in 2021 by the ACEA (Association of European Car Manufacturers), less than 10% of French terminals offer more than 22 kW of power. If things have improved a bit since then, much remains to be done …

Paying your recharge: be smart!

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

If you know immediately how much you will pay at the pump, it is less obvious with electricity. Per kWh? Minute? This is important because we do not stop at a terminal that is charged for the time after regaining 80% of autonomy. In fact, the last percentages are the longest to charge in a car with watts. And then, in case you want to extend your charging break, keep in mind that some service providers punish “suck” vehicles (from 50 cents to € 1 per minute, that makes you think, right?). Also, to top up, in the absence of a credit card reader, you need the right top-up cards to prevent the transaction from costing you a fortune.. Example: the public price on Ionity is € 0.69 per kWh on a very fast charger (€ 0.39 on a 50 kW terminal), knowing that these prices will apply from 1 July. at a rate of 50 kWh recharged (in about thirty minutes), this makes, therefore, a full tank at € 34.50 (for less than 200 km of autonomy recovered on the motorway).

It is a cost equivalent to a petrol car that consumes more than 8 l / 100 km on average with a fuel at 2 € / liter.

Not super cheap. However, Ionity offers a subscription (€ 17.99 / month with a 12-month commitment) that reduces the kWh to € 0.35.. Manufacturers also offer their own cards. For example, Kia offers two, which allow you to subscribe to the “Ionity Power” option at € 13 / month, the rate per minute drops to € 0.29. This will be of interest to the large rollers accustomed to the motorway network. For everyone else, you will need to take out the calculator to find the most cost effective formula according to your usage.

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

Planners

A GPS +: This is the route planner. To make long journeys easier and reduce driver stress, the driver tells you where and, for some, how long you need to stop to recharge.. The most modern or recently updated ones even get to tell you which terminals are free. By the way, scheduling the destination allows the car to precondition its battery (temperature, charge level) to fill up as quickly as possible and therefore shorten the wait. Please note that to be effective, these systems are permanently connected to the Internet. If, in most cases, manufacturers give the data costs the first year or years after purchase, you will need to get your hands on the portfolio.

Developed with partners such as Google for the Renault Mégane Electric, the device can indicate the estimated remaining range during the future stop and, throughout the journey, the nearby terminals. At Tesla, it is an internal system that officiates. It favors the brand’s network of chargers with, primarily, superchargers, but you often have to get off the highway to access them.. By the way, keep in mind that these co-pilots are not infallible. The vagaries of traffic, respect for speed by the driver and, even worse, temperature variation are very influential parameters …

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

Applications: essential aids!

If you are thinking of buying an electric car, your smartphone will be essential. With the inevitable and very practical applications offered by manufacturers, which permanently connect you to your electricity, the mobile is the best ally of the “watt” driver.. Among other features, it is possible, for example, and remotely, to (un) lock the doors, control the load (only to control disconnections), turn on the heating or air conditioning in order to save valuable kWh at the time of doing so. output, or program a full power during off-peak hours.

In the game it offers the most, the Tesla app allows for many other features, such as tracking the car and its surroundings using cameras, or even deterring by honking at a distance as they approach thieves. Applications that list charging stations and offer route planners are useful as a complement. They allow to contrast the information of the integrated multimedia systems of the vehicles to guarantee the presence, and sometimes the availability, of the terminals.. Not to mention, in some cases, the price, which can avoid certain disappointments.

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