daily hell with charging stations

This April I had the opportunity tohave an electric car for 10 days to borrow : the Polestar 2. I had the opportunity to experience 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 past

I live in Belgium, south of Brussels and I don’t have charging stations at home. I mention this because I think it’s mostly responsible for my mixed experience. It is now clear to me that if I were to buy an electric car, it would be with the addition of a fast charging station at home powered in part by solar panels : in this case, all the problems that I will mention in the next paragraph should go away.

I will only use public terminals occasionally when traveling far and wide and my car must be charged at a lower cost at all times to 100%.

My car loading, parked on its side to get to the terminal on Total

Electric charging stations: everyday hell

I think that having to go through public terminals to recharge your car is a real hell for several reasons that I will try to detail for you 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’re going to find: power, availability, failure
    • 2 broken terminals in my 10 days, of which only one worked again after 15 minutes on the phone with a carrier
  • It’s too long to load, even for the fastest 60%: from 20% to 80%
    • 30 minutes to charge at the fastest terminal: 120kWh (Total, ionity)
    • 72 minutes on a 50kWh terminal (Lidl)
    • 163 minutes in a 22kWh terminal (Supermarket)
    • 327 minutes on 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 I return

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

  • sometimes it’s too expensive
    • €0.99 in the fastest terminals, that’s €75 for 450km of autonomy in my case.
    • €8.5 to charge 6% at the cultural center of Uccle…
  • lack of homogeneity
    • Each terminal requires its own application
    • Prices are completely random.
    • many connectors
    • Lots of cards and signatures
  • places are scary
    • Dirty Highway Areas: Waiting There With Kids Isn’t Terrible
  • Sometimes poorly thought-out places
    • Tough maneuvers (scratched a hoop)
    • forced to stand aside
    • very short cables

In short, during these 10 days I often took the lead 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 we found it very funny and took the opportunity to drink some coffee, it quickly becomes a real burden.

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

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

The range of the car in real life

The range of the car I tested is 450km and it is quite capable of doing them: no fraud in that. 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 1 hour longer to get the last 20%

So much to tell you that my car has never been 100% charged and that my concrete autonomy was finally around 350Km.

Add to that that since the closest fast charger to my house was 25km away, I only had 325km of range when I got home.

As I started to get nervous below 100Km, I finally got serene only for 225Km, which is not much when you live in the countryside.

Here are the main connectors: Depends on your car brand

Here are the main connectors: Depends on your car brand

discoveries

If you want to opt for an electric car and live in an apartment or house, be careful though that it is super restrictive daily. You really have to try 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 since driving my Polestar 2 was very pleasant: the car is excellent, silent and super comfortable, as you can see in your test. dedicated.

I also think from Tesla’s side, even faster, homogeneous supercharger networks should make the experience much more enjoyable.

Do not hesitate to share your experience on the matter with me.

Gwen

Some additional questions:

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the electric motor?

Electric motors have several advantages:

  • instant torquewhich allows 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
  • loading time
  • Infrastructure not always up to date

An electric car drives like a conventional car with an automatic gearbox. It is necessary to dose the acceleration a little to avoid being too abrupt, but also the deceleration because almost all models have an energy recovery system that must be mastered to keep the drive as smooth as possible.

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

Where to recharge your electric car for free?

Many supermarkets offer terminals to recharge your cars, and for some it’s completely free. I had experience at the Lidl chain of stores, but there are certainly others.

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

Which card to charge an electric car?

There are a multitude of cards to manage public terminals: load map and plugsurf cover most of the network however it is recommended to have several as prices differ from one formula to another.

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