How to start an electric car? Our definitive guide to getting started

Want to know more about electric vehicles but can’t find your way through all the information available? Don’t panic, our comprehensive guide will allow you to see more clearly regarding the most important points. Autonomy, cost, recharge: everything will pass.

The electric car is becoming more and more essential for many people looking for a new car, but a lot of information is not easily accessible. While well-informed buyers will undoubtedly have a great experience when the new electric vehicle is in their hands, it can be quite different for those who haven’t been able to get all the information they need.

Don’t panic, we’ll see in this file everything that’s important to keep in mind before making the big leap to electric mobility. Between the announced autonomy that does not necessarily represent reality, the charging powers that must be deciphered, or even the way to plan your recharges on long trips, everything will pass. You will then be in a better position to learn about electric mobility without fear, keeping the important aspects in mind.

The electric car, a new philosophy

The overwhelming majority of EV buyers will have experience in the world of thermal cars, and many habits and preconceived ideas will be forgotten. Where a few minutes at the gas station were enough to restart, sometimes around 1,000 kilometers of autonomy, and where the temperature, the wind or the management of long journeys were only rarely a cause for concern, with a car electricity that is not perfect, it will be fundamentally different. .

2019 – Press tests of the new Renault ZOE in Sardinia (3)
Renault Zoé charging socket // Source: Jean-Brice Lemal for Renault France

If you are concerned about the ecological impact of an electric car, our dedicated archive will dive you into detail at this point and separate the true from the false on these so-called “zero emission” vehicles. We’ve also swept up the biggest misconceptions about electric vehicles in our archive on the subject, to let you see more clearly. Finally, if you are concerned about the impact of the increase in the number of electric vehicles on the French electrical grid, our file on this subject is for you.

How to charge your electric car

Main source of potential concern related to switching to electric: recharging. Whether on a daily basis or on long trips, this is something every homeowner will keep in mind, so that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

If you have the possibility, we can only recommend installing a home charging solution, and we have a file at your disposal to help you define the Wallbox you need. With a charging point where the vehicle can recharge its battery when parked overnight, you’ll have the double benefit of not having to worry about daily charging, while driving for a limited cost. Indeed, it currently costs between two and three euros just to drive 100 kilometers in an electric car recharged at home.

Wallbox SB Copper
Wallbox SB Copper // Source:

If unfortunately it is not an option for you to charge at home, we have a guide to show you what the alternatives are. You will see that it is quite possible, although less comfortable, to own an electric car without having a charger at home. Be careful though, with different public charge carriers, cards required and apps to install, it’s easy to get lost. That’s why we have a dedicated file that deals with the various recharge cards that are good for dealing with any eventuality.

Regarding fast charging, which will be useful mainly for trips over several hundred kilometers, we have a summary of the different networks established in France to help you. On this specific point, beware of manufacturer advertisements about speeds and loading times. Indeed, it is important to keep in mind that the maximum power of fast charging is usually only reached briefly and decreases as the charge progresses.

Tesla Model 3 RWD 2022 – 9
The Tesla Model 3 Propulsion charging at an Ionity terminal // Source: Bob JOUY for Frandroid

A vehicle advertised with a charging power of 250 kW, for example, will only reach that power under very specific conditions (optimal temperature, ideal level of battery remaining, etc.) and for a few minutes at best. Likewise, if manufacturers advertise a charging time of 10 to 80% of 30 minutes, it will be necessary to understand that there too, it will only be in ideal conditions, with a sufficiently powerful charger, and that the reality could be quite different.

Do not hesitate to consult the Fastned operator support pages, which will undoubtedly answer your questions about fast charging your vehicle. In the example below referring to a Hyundai Ioniq 5, you will see in particular the explanations about the maximum power reached and, thanks to the load curve presented, you will know what power to expect according to the current level of the car’s battery.

Fasted Ioniq 5
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 support page on the Fastned website

Finally, the costs related to fast charging are an element to take into account on long journeys: they are usually much higher than a domestic charge, and the cost per 100 kilometers can sometimes rise to more than 15 euros, approaching the price of a thermal vehicle. You’ll find some examples in our Ionity article here. Finally, if you want a more detailed analysis of Tesla fast charging and its Supercharger network, our summary file is available for you.

To end the long journeys, count about 20 minutes of charging for 250 kilometers traveled or 20 minutes every 2 hours. This number is just to give you an idea of ​​how long an electric car trip will take, including the required charging times. They will usually be performed several times, to limit the duration (it is less time consuming to multiply small loads).

If in a thermal vehicle you were already adept at regulatory breaks of 20 minutes every two hours, this will not have a significant impact. After two hours on the road, 20 minutes of charging that will coincide with your break will allow you to set off again for two hours or 250 kilometers in electric cars equipped with a good capacity battery (over 60 kWh for sedans).

What is the range of an electric car?

Another essential element of an electric car: its autonomy. If it is recorded that for daily trips of a few tens of kilometers any connected car will do, the problem is very different when approaching longer trips. Many cars advertise today autonomy ranging from 300 to 600 kilometers, but this will rarely represent reality.

To understand a little better the different ways of calculating the theoretical ranges of electric cars, our dedicated file is an excellent starting point. If you have to remember one thing: don’t imagine driving as many kilometers as the vehicle manufacturer advertises. However, there are some tips that we share if you want to play the eco-driving game and reduce energy consumption to maximize the range of your electric car, but some are difficult to apply in everyday life.

Volvo C40 Recharge – Paris National Tests – December 2021

The consumption of an electric car varies a lot depending on certain parameters such as the outside temperature or the wind, but the most influential parameter is undoubtedly speed. While some thermal cars consume less on the road at 130 km/h than in the city, in electric cars the situation is quite different. Expect to significantly increase fuel consumption when traveling at high speedsgenerally about 30% more than consumption in urban areas.

In an electric car, consumption is estimated in kilowatt-hours per 100 kilometers, or in watt-hours per kilometer. To draw a parallel with a thermal vehicle, if with a tank of 50 liters and a consumption of 5 liters per 100 kilometers you can travel 1,000 kilometers, an electric car with a battery capacity of 50 kWh and consumption of 20 kilowatt-hours at 100 kilometers will have a maximum range of 250 kilometers.

In mixed use, here are some examples of typical consumption according to the car category considered. keep in mind that this is just a rough estimateand that depending on the vehicle and type of driving, the values ​​may vary in one direction or the other.

  • City car: 12 kWh/100 km
  • Compact: 13 kWh/100 km
  • Hall: 15kWh/100km
  • Compact SUV: 17 kWh/100 km
  • Family SUV: 20 kWh/100 km

Assistance for the purchase of an electric car

Electric cars enjoy substantial tax advantages compared to their thermal counterparts, which can significantly reduce the bill. In addition to the lower cost of use, a ecological bonus is awarded in 2022 electric vehicles sold for less than 60,000 euros. Our complete file summarizes what you will be entitled to, depending on the case, in relation to this green bonus.

In addition to this ecological bonus valid for a new or used electric car, a conversion bonus is available if you discard an old combustion engine vehicle when purchasing an electric car. Details on eligibility and award amount are available on the government website provided for this purpose.

electric car
Source: Frandroid

Of course there is no ecological penalty on electric vehicleseven in the most powerful ones, which greatly benefits them in the calculation of the bill to pay compared to a sports thermal car, whose fine can sometimes exceed 10,000 euros.

Companies have a strong financial incentive to purchase an electric vehicleas it will be exempt from TVS (tax on company vehicles), and the battery can be fully amortized (between 15,000 and 30,000 euros depending on the battery capacity).

Which electric car to buy?

Finally, to go further and help you in the decision-making process, we have at your disposal many guides that will allow you to define the vehicle that best suits you. In particular, we have a comparison of the best electric cars, as well as these expert guides:

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