Need to find a charging station for your electric car? France will have some 100,000 stations by the end of 2021, Emmanuel Macron’s promise to boost sales of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. In the meantime, you often have to plan your trips and sometimes subscribe to a multitude of cards and badges to have access to networks of recharging stations. In this file, we offer you the tools to locate nearby infrastructures and we will present the badges necessary to access most of them without increasing the number of subscriptions.
Electric cars are starting to be part of the urban landscape. They represent between 20,000 and 30,000 registrations per year… But what about the charging stations? On the website of the Ministry of the Economy, Finance, Action and Public Accounts, we learned at the end of 2019 that the objective is to increase their number to 45,000 by 2020.
A figure that was updated in May 2020 by Emmanuel Macron. On the occasion of the presentation of his support plan for the French automotive sector, the President of the Republic affirmed that there would be 100,000 terminals available in France before the end of 2021. Either in nine months! And the highways would all be equipped with fast charging stations every 150 kilometers.
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The number of charging stations is not the only problem, however. The stations are not managed by a single actor. And, unlike petrol stations, it is not always possible to use them other than with a badge or an access card. To make matters worse, not all of them have sockets compatible with all vehicles… Here’s how to locate and choose your station.
Several maps can help you quickly find a charging station. Simply click on the link to access the map. You can also turn to some Indigo car parks (formerly Vinci).
Tesla Superchargers Map
If you own a Tesla, you can opt for the official manufacturer map, with its stations available and a number of stations under construction:
Here’s another helpful resource, regardless of your make of vehicle this time around: the ChargeMap map. This is extremely detailed and makes it easy to find the combination of plugs and charging modes. It is not possible for us to integrate it, especially as the site is on registration (free). But you can access it through the link below:
Vinci / Indigo car parks
The search engine of the Indigo car parks site (formerly Vinci) makes it easy to find those who have a charging station for electric vehicles:
Google Maps and location of stations
Since October 2018, an update of Google Maps has made it possible to display the charging stations available in an area. A new update released in April 2019 adds an interesting novelty: Google Maps also indicates whether terminals are in use in real time.
Finally, a third update, deployed in December 2019, displays the list of socket formats offered by the terminal. This allows you to select a terminal without worrying about not being able to recharge when you arrive at your destination. This notion is important. We discuss this in the next part of this file.
Charging stations for electric cars: 4 different types of sockets
In this part, we talk more specifically about the charging socket formats and compatible charging stations. Unlike the gas station, it is not enough to go to any charging station to refuel. There are two reasons for this: First, not all electric cars and charging stations have the same type of connector.
The different sockets are undergoing standardization within the European Union, which should ultimately go towards more simplicity. But in the meantime, some allow you to charge a wide variety of vehicles, most in slow version, while others are exclusive to certain brands. Provided you have the correct cable in your possession. In general, it is when you come across a fast charger that you have to worry the most about these compatibility problems, because beyond 20kW, the cable and its connector, therefore, must be attached to the terminal.
It is therefore advisable to inquire about the form factor of the plug used by your vehicle. These are mainly of 4 types:
- CHAdeMo : used mainly by Japanese and East Asian manufacturers (Nissan, Mitsubishi, Kia, etc.). Tesla are compatible with this format, but only with an adapter
- CSS combo : German manufacturers (BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, etc.)
- Tesla Supercharger
- Type 2 with fast charging (Tesla and Renault Zoé)
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Charging stations: beware of slow stations
Next to these types of sockets, there are mainly 4 charging modes:
- Mode 1 : non-dedicated fixed socket (slow charging mode on the conventional electricity network)
- Mode 2 : non-dedicated socket with protection device incorporated into the cable (slow or fast charging mode with intelligent functions)
- Mode 3 : fixed socket on dedicated circuit (fast charging mode)
- Mode 4 : DC connection (optimized fast charging mode)
Depending on the brand of your vehicle and the adapters available, you have access to a very variable number of charging stations. And they are not necessarily fast. This means that the charging time can vary from a duration of almost an hour to several hours (or even the rest of the day) in the case of a slow charge. These are data to take into account when choosing a brand of electric car: what use you will make of the vehicle and, above all, what types of plug are compatible with the terminals near you or on your usual journeys.
Read also: Discover the first real gas station 100% dedicated to electric cars
Once you know which outlets are supported by a charging station and what the availability is, you need to pay to access the service. In theory, each charging station network offers an independent subscription. Fortunately, there are solutions – single cards that allow access to multiple kiosk networks. Here are some of these services:
- ChargeMap Pass: the same site we were talking about for charging station cards offers a single access card to € 19.90 and charges “a reasonable commission” for each act, without further clarification. You can get an idea of the number of stations accessible via the ChargeMaps card above by activating the ChargeMaps Pass filter.
- IZIVIA Pass (EDF): the IZIVIA network, an EDF subsidiary, offers access to more than 100,000 charging stations in France and Europe. The subscription also gives access to the Corri-Door network with 200 terminals scattered over the French motorway network (one terminal every 80 km). Several subscription plans are available for individuals and professionals from 0 € per month and 1 € / 5mn.
- New Motion (Shell Recharge Card): access a network of 135,000 public charging stations in 35 countries. The top-up card is free: you only pay for the top-up.
- Plugsurfing: Access 135,000 charging stations across Europe for just € 9.95 (cost of the card). Depending on the station you will pay a fixed price, the duration of the recharge, or the energy consumed.
- Freshmile Pass: the site offers an RFID key fob giving access to 50,000 charging points. It costs € 4.99 in single purchase – the site is content to talk about reasonable charging rates, but it is possible to consult them for each station via their map and application.
In a previous version of this file, we also integrated the EasyTrip KiWhi service. It was bought by the motorway company APRR in 2020 after the cessation of EasyTrip’s activity. No replacement has yet been announced.
Before its interruption, it offered access to 22,000 charging points. The offer was divided into two formulas: the first is on subscription (24 € per year) and gives access to top-ups of 35 euro cents per act. The second assumes a one-time purchase of 19 € for the card, and a simple fee-for-service (which goes to 70 cents per recharge).
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