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Recharging in the city, the practical guide

Jun 21, 2022

Whether you are a new electro-mobilist or an expert wishing to get up to speed on good practices and pitfalls to avoid when charging your vehicle in town, follow the guide! Summer is approaching. For some people, car journeys are becoming more and more regular, for example by breaking the routine with an ice cream or a family movie at the shopping centre, where it is then appropriate to charge their electric vehicle. For others, it is simply not possible to charge at a fixed location all year round, so it becomes essential to have the right reflexes when it comes to charging at a public charging point.

Plan your route

It is recommended that you always carry a charging cable in your vehicle, in case you need to charge at a slow roadside (AC) charging point, as not all of them are equipped with one.

Plan your journey

Planning your route in advance is a good way to avoid unpleasant surprises. If you already know your route. Locating the kiosks on your route in advance will allow you to travel without stress. It is advisable to download a mobility operator's app before you leave to locate nearby charging points, such as Chargemap, or some charging operators who offer a dedicated app, such as Electra.

How to choose your charge point?

The second step is to choose the right station to leave your electrified friend on for several minutes, or several hours!

Charging points are becoming more reliable with the recent mass adoption of electric vehicles, but it is still possible to fall into the trap of a dysfunctional station, or conversely a ghost station as it is indicated as open but still under construction.

Select a suitable terminal

You will find on your route terminals with different power ratings, ranging from 3 kW for the slowest to 350 kW for the fastest.

In order to choose the right charging station, you need to know your car and its maximum charging power, but also the time you have available. If you are going to the shopping centre and your electric car accepts fast charging, a 22 kW accelerated charging station, for example, will be more than sufficient for your afternoon shopping.

If you don't have time to waste, consider ultra-fast charging stations, such as the Electra stations, to charge in less than 30 minutes. And in any case, if you don't feel like calculating and want to make sure you leave fully charged, a fast charging session will do the trick.

However, if you drive a vehicle with a slow charging capacity, as is the case with most plug-in hybrids, you should plan on several hours and a lower-powered terminal, as you won't be able to exceed your vehicle's power rating in any case.

Read the comments

Now that you have selected a charging station with a suitable charging power, it is worthwhile to take a moment to read other users' comments on the station. This way you can quickly identify whether it is functional or not. The most recent comments are often representative of reality. Don't hesitate to participate in the comments yourself to help others in the same situation as you!

How much does it cost and how do I pay?

Take into account the pricing, which varies greatly from one recharging operator to another, but also the type of pricing. Some operators charge by the minute rather than by the energy delivered, which can quickly increase your bill tenfold if you charge for too long. If you want to use top-up passes, find out about the commissions that are applied, which can vary according to the operator.

Would you like to use your credit card directly on the terminal? You should know that many are not yet equipped with a reader, which can be very frustrating. However, this is becoming more common, especially with ultra-fast charging operators.

Finally, you have the possibility to book your charging point in advance to avoid queues and unpleasant surprises. Note that Electra is the only operator to offer this feature!

To start charging

Here you are, parked by the terminal, ready to draw the gun... let yourself be guided, follow the simple instructions to unlock the terminal and start your recharge.

If you are at a slow charging station, on the road for example, this is the time to take out your charging cable, prepared beforehand if it is not equipped with one. First connect the cable to the station, then to your car.

On a charging station with a cable already built in, connect the cable to your car, the vehicle locks when your charge starts. You can then go about your business while the charge is in progress.

Reload between 20% and 80%.

In fast charging, charging slows down when the State of Charge (SoC) of your battery is between 80% and 100%. It is therefore much faster and therefore more convenient to charge from 20% to 80%, for example, than from 40% to 100%.

End the charge on the terminal or on the application if you are using one, disconnect your vehicle, and off you go!

This is just the beginning!

Even if it is still necessary to take precautions today, charging points have multiplied in recent years with more than 60,000 charging points already in place by May 2022, a figure that has doubled in just one year.

With major changes underway, expect the network to improve in record time and more and more terminals to be fast and easy to use!

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