Caradisiac survey – The different types of electric charging

Thorny problem, stress for some, simple organizational question for others: recharging an electric car poses logistical questions that must be reckoned with permanently, whether one has routine or more varied use of his car with batteries. But between the different types of charging (at home or on public terminal, fast or slow), socket standards and networks that are developing at high speed (100,000 public terminals are planned by the end of 2020!), Difficult to see clearly without a spotlight to clarify things.

There are several typical behaviors of everyday users of electric cars. One of them is “bottle feeding”. Behind this accepted term in Larousse hides the permanent search for an energy supplement at every opportunity, that is to say every time the car is parked somewhere, for a partial partial recharge. 

A parking lot, a street, a business, a large area: there is often a way to find a terminal allowing you to connect to the network and recover a few kilometers of autonomy, perhaps those who are likely to miss D-Day , the one where the driver will know the stress that any user of an electric vehicle wants to avoid at all costs, the moment when the last forces of the battery are exhausted. Precisely when our colleague Pierre Desjardins comes to the end of his famous electrical endurance tests !  

Others know their routes and the capacities of their car and, with a well-groomed routine, they know that their battery will be more than enough to make their daily journey. This is true in the vast majority of cases: the average travel does not exceed fifty kilometers while the electric cars (EV) on the market offer between 150 and 300 real km of autonomy. They will probably charge either at night, at home (this is what most users of electric vehicles do in France), or during the day, at the office, perhaps not every day, but according to their autonomy needs. Let’s not forget that night charging is both the most practical and the one that consumes the least energy. As a result, costs are also divided thanks to off-peak hours.

Finally, some improvise and do not hesitate to hit the road for longer journeys. They are the ones who generally know the biggest fear of “dry” breakdown.

Here is a concrete example of charging time: a Volkswagen e-Golf and its 35.8 kWh battery needs 13.15 h to reach 80% of charge on a simple household outlet, while in less than 6 hours of charge on an AC wall box , 7.2 kW, it will reach its full capacity and in a fast charge station CCS DC 40 kW, 80% of the battery will be charged in just 45 min.

As for the price, it is very variable according to the sources of supply, the full average would be less than 2 € / 100 km, or 70% less than with an internal combustion engine.

The home is the main place of charging for the vast majority of owners of electric cars. The inhabitants of individual houses are the most advantaged, because they are the ones who can most easily access a single socket or mount a specific socket in the form of what is called a wall box (wall box, which can take several forms).

In a building, if incentives and aids are available, it is not always possible to have the co-ownership accept the installation of an outlet resulting from the choice of this alternative energy for a single inhabitant, even if a “right à la prize ”is in the texts.

Normal grip: universal

Each electric car is supplied with a cable allowing simple recharging on a 220 V socket, generally protected by an electronic box regulating the charge. At 8 to 10 amps, the charge is slow, but overnight, many models will be recharged and ready to go at full capacity in the morning. It seems simple, it is indeed feasible but on a daily basis, it is better at least to have its installation checked by an electrician, because recharging a car has greater constraints for the network than ordinary use and this could lead overheating. As with the oven in the kitchen, the installation should ideally be more solid. This is why a specific reinforced socket or, better, a wall box is highly recommended.


Installation: no specific equipment (checking by electrician advised)

Installation price: 0 €

Use: ultra-easy

Full price: between 3 and 6 € to gain 200 km of real autonomy (off / peak hours and depending on EV model)

Depending on where you live, you will find very different configurations. It is very important to find out before purchasing an electric vehicle about the charging possibilities around your home. Especially since not all stations are compatible with all types of sockets.

Different types of connection plugs

Some of you (it’s a time that people under 20 can’t know …) may remember the standards war that accompanied the arrival of video recorders in the late 70s … Betamax, V2000 and VHS competed for market share before only one survived this trade war. It was VHS which won the day and reigned on the market for video cassettes, before giving way to DVD, then to complete dematerialization. Digression? Certainly. But the parallel was tempting to describe the different standards of public charging sockets which are not less than 5, with technical constraints (power…) which are not always the same depending on the case…

But, good news, things are changing and it seems that we are heading towards a generalization in Europe of the Type 2 plug (3 to 43 kW of power), or even Combo type. Type 3 and CHAdeMO plugs are little used these days. Fortunately, charging stations generally offer different connections (female sockets or male cables) and stations with a socket compatible with your car can be easily identified with an appropriate app (see box).

Today, according to figures from the Gireve platform (Grouping for the roaming of electric vehicle recharges, with PSA and Renault), there are almost 16,000 charging points in France, distributed in 4,500 stations.

A. Slow charging stations: imperative patience

From 3.7 to 7 kVA, the so-called “normal” or slow charging sockets are capable of recharging a medium capacity battery overnight. They can be used as a parking space in the appropriate networks such as Autolib in Ile-de France (4,500 charging points). A boon for drivers of personal electric vehicles who can both park easily and charge their cars, even if prices have increased recently. Count today in Paris 15 € subscription (once) and 1 € / h the first hour, then 3 € / h. It is a slow charge that saves fifteen kilometers of autonomy in one hour. The prices are roughly comparable with the Parisian Belib charging stations, but they do give the choice between normal and fast charging.

Note that we are talking about accelerated load (22 kVA or 32 A three-phase) for intermediate power points, as in certain service stations or certain supermarket car parks (Leclerc, Cora, Auchan, etc.). They allow a charge of up to 80% in one hour, while giving the possibility to vehicles which are not designed to charge at slow speed compatible with their battery management system.

According to Avere (National Association for the Development of Electric Mobility), developers of public charging stations must now offer users a type 2 socket (also called “Mennekes”, after its manufacturer) and an E socket (domestic classic) in their charging points. Ideally, using an app that centralizes all the charging points allows you to be as informed as possible about what concerns you (see box).

Parking and small charge

In most cases, access to charging stations cannot be done spontaneously, a subscription card is required, or even contact on site to request access. The Bolloré group’s networks therefore require a subscription and an RFID card for the Autolib (Paris), Bluely (Lyon), Bluecub (Bordeaux) networks.

This is also the case for Belib (pto) in Paris, even if here, we are just billed for consumption. We can also cite Vinci Park, Kiwhi Pass or ElectriCité Seine Aval. Or Indigo which, with their partnership with Sodetrel (an ERDF subsidiary), will reach 600 charging stations in their car parks by 2019, with the possibility of buying the Sodetrel Pass more easily in the Indigo shop.

Fortunately, it is planned to offer a generalization of payment by bank card by 2019. This eliminates the difficulties of access to certain terminals with specific subscription.


Subscription: often necessary, most public charging stations request an access card (see page 2)

Use:   limited because the charge is slow

Full price: between 0 and 6 € to gain 200 km of real autonomy (depending on EV model)

B. Fast-charge stations: as close as possible to refueling

Recently, legislation has evolved in an attempt to rationalize the fleet of fast stations. Also according to Avere, they must now offer a cable to supply a type 2 outlet, a fast DC charge cable of CHAdeMO type (Japanese standard) and a cable of Combo type 2. There, it is possible, the time for lunch, for example, to fully recharge your batteries to set off for a long distance. Ideally, again, use an app that centralizes all the charging points to be as informed as possible according to your needs. Attention, here too, most of the time you need a subscription card (see page 2).

Networks: full power deployment

The famous Tesla superchargers (up to 270 km of autonomy recovered in 30 min) now link France, some being for example installed in luxury hotels. If their use was free for owners of current models, very high-end, beware, it is not the same today, with 400 kWh / year included now, enough to cover 1,600 km, according to Tesla. Remember that these are not public terminals but terminals reserved for owners of cars of the brand.

In Paris, Belib stations (not to be confused with Velib!) Offer several normal and fast charging points. On motorways and expressways, Sodetrel’s Corri-Door network is ultimately targeting a charging station every 80 km, with 200 fast-charging stations that can “fill up” in 20 to 30 minutes already in place. And in the regions and in the cities, many solutions are implemented like in Vendée (SyDEV) or in Brittany with Brev’Car – it is impossible to list them all here. Dealers of certain brands like Renault are also playing the game, with more than 400 sites for the brand in Losange, which also offers its ZE Pass card, linked to the application of the same name, which allows you to find the terminals in the desired area. , with the possibility of paying directly in the application.


Subscription: often necessary, most public charging stations request an access card (see page 2)

Use: effective because fast, but complicated because no single standard yet for the catch

Full price: between 0 (Tesla) and approx. 10 € to gain 200 km of real autonomy (depending on EV model)