France has 1 million “terminals”, but where are they?

1,000,000 charging points for electric vehicles are listed in France, but what does this number really hide? Let’s take a look at the different charging options available in France for both slow and fast charging.

Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, with sales rates approaching 15% of new vehicle registrations. The vast majority of users charge at home daily, however, during long trips, it is necessary to connect elsewhere.

Let’s therefore take stock in this file of charging solutions available outside the home, with fast charging on one side and slow charging on the other. We will present some charging networks and their characteristics, before talking about the number of terminals open to the public in France and Europe. Without further ado, let’s take stock of the charging solutions available.

Fast charging, just a roaming solution?

Most electric vehicles have two charging modes: fast (direct current) and slow (ac). They differ in their mode of operation and the maximum charging power accepted.

The alternating current loads are power between 2 and 11 kW for most vehicles, with some today reaching 22 kW (Renault Zoé or Mégane e-tech in particular). Concretely, it is this charging mode that is used at home (with a Type 2 socket on the side of the car) and that more or less allows you to recover most of the battery in a night of charging in a Wallbox. In a domestic outlet, however, it is necessary to count on 20 to 40 hours of charging to make a complete filling.

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

Fast charging is done via a CCS Combo port (or CHAdeMo for some cars) and offers powers of up to more than 250kW for fast loading champions. Thus, with a power twenty times greater than that of alternating current at home, fast charging is available at stations specifically designed for this purpose, implemented by charging operators in Portugal.

This one fast charging is primarily intended for those traveling long distances exceeding the vehicle’s range, but can be useful for electric vehicle owners who don’t have a charging solution at home or work. In fact, using fast charge occasionally to recover enough to drive an entire week in about thirty minutes is undoubtedly acceptable for anyone who doesn’t have a charging point accessible on a daily basis.

Of course, the cost will have to be taken into account, asnow it is necessary to count about 0.70 euros per kWh in fast charge in the various networks, against 0.17 euros at home. This is well over four times more expensive, but it is the price to pay for the speed and availability of the terminals. These terminals and networks are more and more numerous, but is this always good for the end customer?

Multiplying charging networks, for better or for worse

We’ve already made an inventory of the real jungle of recharge cards that, after all, don’t make life much easier for electro drivers. Indeed, for many it is necessary to have multiple badges to ensure you can recharge on the various terminals available.

However, this variety is good as customers now have more choices than they did a few months ago. This competition between charging networks allows the driver to choose the most suitable one according to their needs, namely for fast charging needs.

We can mention, for example, Ionity or also Fastned, which selects highway areas for the vast majority of its charging stations, which allows no need to make a detour to load. Likewise, motorway companies have launched tenders for the majority of their areas to be equipped with fast charging, allowing everyone to charge without constraints and without having to leave the motorway.

Cupra Born in Supercharger
Cupra is born in the Supercharger / Source: D. Nogueira

Tesla is an exception to the competition, as the overwhelming majority of its Superchargers are located off-road. This has the advantage of allowing locals to charge quickly without having to use toll roads, but when traveling across France for a holiday, it’s clear that locations are rarely ideal.

We can also notice a regional disparity in terms of available charging points (fast charging and slow charging), which does not put everyone on an equal footing.

Nearly 70,000 charging stations open to the public in France, but over a million stations available

The latest Avere-France barometer for September 2022 identifies nearly 70,000 charging points open to the public (69,428 exactly as of August 31, 2022). In the last twelve months alone, this number has increased by 50%, indicating a fast acceleration of the terminals layout in France.

Even so, if the national average is 103 charging points per 100,000 inhabitants, some regions are far worse than others in terms of charging possibilities for your electric vehicle. In addition to Corsica and its only 400 charging points, the Center-Val de Loire region is the least supplied in the metropolis, with 2,781 charging points spread over 1,301 stations.

If we take into account the population of each region, in terms of loading point density, the region Pays de la Loire with 86 charging points per 100,000 inhabitants it is the most backward in the metropolis. On the contrary, the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and its 116 charging points per 100,000 inhabitants stands as an example.

Recharge by power – Recognized
The distribution of charging points by available power // Source: avere-france

Concretely, in addition to regional disparities, this means that having an available charging point is not guaranteed depending on the times and places where you are. Some terminals in these 70,000 available charging points are also difficult to access.or even inaccessible at certain times (those located in retail parking lots in particular).

The current breakdown of charging points by location is now as follows: 37% are in car parks, 32% belong to companies, 27% are on the road, 3% belong to companies and 1% are considered to be another unspecified category .

Among the 70,000 charging points available, the overwhelming majority are for slow AC charging (92% of the total). Fast charging stations in 150 kW or more represents only 3% of available charging points, that is, only 2,073 units. The remaining 5% are fast charging stations with a power strictly below 150 kW.

Loading: it’s home

As we saw above, France has an average of around 103 charging points per 100,000 inhabitants. Reduced to estimates of the number of 100% electric vehicles in circulation (about 600,000 by mid-2022), this gives 8.6 100% electric vehicles per charging station to France. We could then imagine that it is difficult, if not impossible, to recharge with so few terminals for so many cars, but that would be forgetting the main form of recharge: at home.

Tesla Model 3 Wall Connector
A Tesla Model 3 charging into the Tesla Wall Connector // Source: Tesla

In fact, Enedis recently communicated the numbers related to the recharge they have, and the observation is clear: 89% of electric vehicle users do their main charging at home. Furthermore, while only 70,000 charging points are available and open to the public, the vast majority of charging points in France are private, as they more than one million charging points identified by Enedis in April 2022. Less than 7% of charging points in France were open to the public. Put another way, over 93% of charging points are in private locationsowned by natural or legal persons.

Conclusion

The number of electric vehicles in circulation continues to increase despite a car market that has been at half-mast for many months and, as the Avere barometer shows, the installation of charging stations is not weakening. In Europe, as in France, the trend is towards acceleration, although disparities persist. Indeed, Netherlands, France and Germany now have two-thirds of the terminals available in Europe 27.

The increase in the number of electric vehicles to be recharged raises some questions, namely about the capacity of existing networks to absorb the additional consumption, or about the availability of charging stations during long journeys. To go further, our dedicated guide for newcomers to the world of electric cars is here to help you see things more clearly before diving into clean mobility.

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