While Emmanuel Macron has made ecological planning and carbon footprint reduction the cornerstone of his second term, where is the goal in terms of electric car development? During his first five-year term, the Head of State had promised to establish 100,000 charging stations by the end of 2021. The question of autonomy is, in fact, one of the main obstacles to the acquisition of an electric vehicle. However, according to information from franceinfo, the ambition in terms of charging points has not been achieved.
At the end of April, France had just 60,000 charging stations, according to the latest count made by Avere France, the national association for the development of electric mobility. This represents approximately one terminal for every 15 electric or hybrid cars in circulation today in France.
It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s still in the upper average of the European Union, observes Cécile Goubet, delegate general of Avere France: “France is doing very well in terms of deploying charging infrastructure compared to its neighbors. We are in the top three. In addition to these charging points that are open to the public, there are those found in businesses and those found at home.” According to a study by the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA), Germany is the best endowed, followed by the United Kingdom and France. These three countries alone represent 75% of charging points on the European continent.
— ACEA (@ACEA_auto) October 28, 2020
Still, four times as many public terminals would be needed by 2025, according to projections, to be able to respond to the expected increase in electric car sales. Unsurprisingly, coverage is lower in rural areas. Electric car owners usually have a terminal at home, in their home garage.
But also, and it may seem surprising, highways are poorly equipped with high-power terminals, models ten or even twenty times faster than those found in private homes. These fast terminals are also obviously better suited for a holiday trip of several hundred kilometers with short breaks.
“If we have a vehicle that is capable of taking very high power and we have a terminal that makes very high power, we can do 20 to 80% of its full capacity in 18 minutes.”Cécile Goubet, delegate general of Avere France
The price of refueling varies greatly depending on the terminals and operators, but often exceeds 20 euros. According to a rather simple principle: the faster the recharge, the more expensive it is. La Sanef, the company that operates the A13 Paris-Normandy or the A1 Paris-Lille, promises to equip the 72 areas of its network with 500 of these high-power terminals by the end of the year. The other concessionaires have 2023.
In any case, it is a necessary development to remove one of the main current obstacles to the purchase of electric cars, Judge Flavien Neuvy of the Cetelem automotive observatory: “The user or purchaser of an electric car wants to be able to have the same ease of recharging their electric car as this refueling facility. of buying electric cars in France.”
Among the technical, network connection and administrative constraints, the delay in installing a terminal is counted in months and not weeks. Not to mention the recent shortage of semiconductors, which doesn’t make things simple. Didier Liautaud, General Manager of Engie Mobilité Electrique, installs and manages charging stations for communities, supermarkets or motorway companies: “When, for example, you install a station where there are four, five, six ultra-fast charging stations, you are in the process of building permits.
“Sometimes installing very fast charging stations can take up to a year.”Didier Liautaud, director of Engie Electric Mobility
Faced with these regulatory hurdles and growing demand from drivers, an Italian start-up has entered the mobile recharge market. E-Gap has no real competitor at the moment. To benefit from its services, you must download an application on your mobile phone and then indicate where your car is parked. A small truck, electric of course, takes care of the rest, explains Frédéric Courneau, managing director of E-Gap France: “We can request the amount of top-ups we want and how long we want. We click, choose our credit card – it can be a personal credit card, a business credit card – and so on.” . The truck is on its way to deliver the power to us. As we ordered a taxi, as we ordered a pizza, today we are going to ask for our electric vehicle to be recharged.”
For the moment, the service remains limited to three vans that cross Paris, each capable of recharging three vehicles with a power close to that of the bus terminals. These utilities must be reloaded, of course. E-Gap expects to expand, within a few years, to around twenty French cities.