We traveled 2,000 km across France in an electric car, here’s how it went

We traveled 2,000 km across France in an electric car, here's how it went

This summer, we tested electric car holidays. Nearly 2,000 km traveled in rural France at the wheel of the best-selling all-electric city car in France. Summary of an ultimately rather positive experience.

Can we travel by electric car?

The answer is yes. But at the cost of a change of habits. Forget the idea of ​​reaching your resort more than 500 kilometers away in one go: the autonomy limited to 400 km and the recharging time, generally more than two hours, plead for stages of around 300 kilometers. Up to 350 km if you are guaranteed to find a free terminal on arrival. Thus, reaching Ariège from Loire-Atlantique took us three days.

The journey is therefore, as before, part of the holidays. Letting yourself slide smoothly and silently on the quiet roads linking peaceful villages is a rediscovered happiness. Especially in this last weekend of July during which more than 750 km of traffic jams were recorded on major routes. During this time, the shaded terraces and wild swimming in fresh water are ours.

Is it expensive?

Less than €30 in electricity costs for a journey of nearly 2,000 km. A good deal made possible by a refill at a relative’s. And above all thanks to two other free recharges, one at a public terminal in a town in Charente-Maritime, which has chosen to promote electric mobility in this way, and the second in a hotel in the Lot which offers electricity to its customers.

Elsewhere, the rates are between €4 and €8 depending on the percentage of battery discharge for terminals of large retailers (Super U, Leclerc, etc.) and up to €12 for public terminals managed by other operators (recharging in two to three hours). Prices are even higher at gas stations where the powers allow much faster recharging (up to less than half an hour).

Is it the hassle?

For now, such a trip remains an adventure close to treasure hunting: find the right terminal at the right time using mobile applications more or less up-to-date and generally neither exhaustive nor completely reliable, is a challenge. And the diversity of connectors, suppliers and payment methods does not make the game any easier. Or becomes hell when you have poor control over your smartphone. Like this octogenarian met on the road: not very skilled with his smartphone, he finds himself totally helpless when he has to recharge outside his home.

Other examples of difficulties encountered: on a motorway rest area, the only terminal present is occupied. The next one on the route turns out to be out of service… Or else, in Vienne, the public terminals encountered are reserved for subscribers with a badge. It is therefore with only a few kilometers of remaining autonomy (1 kilowatt hour out of 52) that we reach a saving terminal in the Deux-Sèvres. The possibility of not going home that evening touched us for a few moments…

The trans-European transport road network (TEN-T). | EUROPEAN UNION

Will things improve?

Slowly: an agreement of the European Ministers of Transport, in June, plans to impose on the Member States the deployment of public terminals in quantity proportional to the number of vehicles (at least 1 kW per electric vehicle). But the objective, to cover the entire trans-European transport road network (TEN-T) with at least one terminal every 60 km, is set at… 2030.

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