the daily hell with recharging stations

This April I had the opportunityhave an electric car for 10 days to lend : Polestar 2. I had the opportunity to live the day to day life of an electric car owner and the least we can say is that my experience is mixed in terms of infrastructure.

Explanation of my background

I live in Belgium, south of Brussels and I have no recharging points at home. I mention this because I think this is mainly responsible for my mixed experience. Now I’m clear that if I had to buy an electric car, I would with the addition of a fast charging station at home powered in part by solar panels : in this case, all the problems I will mention in the next paragraph should go away.

Then, I will only use public terminals from time to time when traveling far away and my car should be charged at all times at a cost of less than 100%.

My car loading, parked sideways to get to the Total terminal

Electric charging stations: the daily hell

I find that having to go through public terminals to recharge your car is a real hell for many reasons that I will try to detail in a structured way below.

  • Obligation to make many detours to reach the terminals
    • It is a real organization in terms of time that makes each trip complex
  • You never know what you’ll encounter: power, availability, failure
    • 2 terminals crashed during my 10 days, only one of which restarted after 15 minutes on the phone with an operator
  • It is very long to load even for 60% faster: from 20% to 80%
    • 30 minutes to charge to the fastest terminal: 120 kWh (Total, ionity)
    • 72 minutes on a 50 kWh terminal (Lidl)
    • 163 minutes in a 22 kWh terminal (supermarket)
    • 327 minutes in an 11kWh terminal (commune, concert hall, etc.)
Here is a very fast terminal in Mousron on the French border: it will be broken the second time you return

Here is a very fast terminal in Mousron on the French border: it will be broken the second time you return

  • Sometimes it is very expensive
    • € 0.99 to the fastest terminals, that’s € 75 for 450km of range in my case.
    • € 8.5 to collect 6% at the Uccle cultural center …
  • Lack of homogeneity
    • Each terminal requires its own application
    • Prices are completely random.
    • Many connectors
    • Lots of cards and subscriptions
  • Places are scary
    • Dirty freeway areas: Waiting with kids isn’t terrible
  • Locations sometimes poorly thought out
    • Difficult maneuvers (I scratched an edge)
    • Forced to step aside
    • Cables too short

In short, during these 10 days I He often took the initiative to recharge my car and I have wasted a lot of time switching to chargers and wait for my car to load.

If the first few times it makes us quite funny and we take the opportunity to have some coffee, it quickly becomes a real ballast.

Here is a Total terminal that restarts its environment because the screen no longer responds.

Here is a Total terminal that restarts its environment because the screen no longer responds.

The autonomy of the car in real life

The range of the car I tested is 450Km and it is quite capable of doing them – no scam in this. On the other hand, if you go through public terminals, know that if it takes 30 minutes to go from 20 to 80%, it takes another 1 hour to get the last 20%

So much for telling you this my car was never fully charged. and that my specific range was finally about 350Km.

Add to that the fact that the nearest fast charger to my house was 25 km away, I only had 325 km of autonomy left when I got home.

When I started to get nervous below 100Km, I was finally serene only for 225Km, which is not much when living in the countryside.

These are the main connectors: it depends on the brand of your car

These are the main connectors: it depends on the brand of your car

Discoveries

If you want to opt for an electric car and live in a flat or a semi-detached house, Be careful, however, that it is very restrictive every day. You really have to experience it to see it.

If, on the other hand, you are equipped at home or at work, it can really become a good alternative, especially because driving my Polestar 2 was very pleasant: the car is excellent, quiet and super comfortable, as you can see in his dedicated test ..

I also think that on the Tesla side, homogeneous and even faster supercharger networks should make the experience much more enjoyable.

Feel free to share with me your experience on the subject.

Gwen

Some additional questions:

What are the pros and cons of the electric motor?

Electric motors have several advantages:

  • Instant pairwhich allows you to have a crazy acceleration
  • No combustion, no filters and therefore low maintenance
  • Almost silent

What are the disadvantages of electric cars?

Currently, the disadvantages of electric cars are:

  • The price
  • Autonomy
  • charging time
  • Infrastructure not always up to date

An electric car runs like a conventional car with an automatic gearbox. Acceleration should be dosed a bit to avoid being too abrupt but also deceleration because almost all models have an energy recovery system that must be mastered to keep driving as smooth as possible.

It is possible to recharge the car at home with a normal outlet (very long> 40H), or in specialized terminals whose powers range from 7 kWh to 350 kWh for Tesla superchargers.

Where to recharge your electric car for free?

Many supermarkets offer terminals to recharge your cars and for some it is even completely free. I had experience in the Lidl store chain, but I’m sure there are others.

Generally, to pay at a charging station, it is necessary to have an RFID charging card compatible with the charging station. In some handsets, you can also download an app and pay by scanning a QRCode with your smartphone.

Which card to charge an electric car?

There are many cards for managing public terminals: load map i plugsurfing they cover most of the network, however, it is recommended to have several because the prices differ from one formula to another.

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