Charging stations are multiplying in France, but be careful with their reliability

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More and more charging stations for electric cars are being installed in France, with the symbolic bar of 100,000 stations expected to be reached by the end of 2023. But the observation is clear: very few are in use at the moment.

BMW i7 in an Ionity terminal
BMW i7 in an Ionity terminal

At the moment

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Not surprisingly, more and more new electric cars are being sold in France. To satisfy all owners, the charging infrastructure (fast or not) needs to keep up. If this year the milestone of 100,000 installed terminals is exceeded, with a delay of two years, the use of these terminals is not yet optimalas revealed by the latest Avere barometer.

More than 85,000 charging points open to the public in 2023

The general delegate of Avere-France, Clément Molizon, has just revealed the figures for the start of 2023 regarding the location of charging points, and they are quite very good:

2023 will be the year we reach the symbolic bar of 100,000 charging points public. As of January 31, 2023, France already had 85,284 charging points open to the public, or an increase in their number of +57% in one year and 3,177 charging points installed in the month. The year is off to a good start: however, the momentum needs to be maintained and intensified, with concerns the constant improvement of service quality and user experience.

Clear-eyed about the current state of the various charging networks, Clément Molizon affirms that The challenge of the year will be the quality of the service as well as the user experience. Unfortunately, electric motorists are well aware of the current problem. and the jungle of charging cards that you have to navigate in order to successfully charge your vehicle.

Clearly underutilized infrastructure

While most electric car owners charge at home, public infrastructure is logically reserved for those who are on the go, or who have no solution to connect where their vehicle is usually parked.

However, the figures for the use of the terminals clearly show the disinterest of the majority of the population in public rates. Indeed, in January 2023, each charging point had an average of 14.5 charging sessions throughout the month.

This means, if we consider that an average charge lasts two hours, thata terminal is free more than 96% of the time on average. Of course, some terminals are heavily used during some days during the crossings during the holidays, but the observation is clear.

Several reasons can explain the lack of use of public charging stations. First of all, there is a practical aspect.With a method to démarrer la charge, étape qui es clearly un frein pour les nouveaux arrivants: entre les applications à télécharger, les cartes à posséder, le câble de recharge à amener et la puissance de charge qui n’est pas une notion triviale, This does many obstacles to overcome to finally fill your battery.

Recharge at a public terminal, free at night // Source: Bob Jouy for Frandroid

In addition, the increase in costs linked to charging, which has occurred since the last quarter of 2022, should contribute to moving away from backup charging on the go for less expensive ones, at work or at home. It is not uncommon to find terminals that ultimately cost more per kilometer than an equivalent gasoline car, which makes their use pointless. With very low usage, traders probably have no choice but to increase prices for charging sessions so as not to make losses.

Finally, terminal availability rate needs to be further improved recover the image of traveling charging, since in fast charging points of more than 150 kW of power, the Avere reveals that they are unavailable 22% of the time, or nearly seven full days in a month. There is still a lot of work to be done to make electric mobility easy, accessible and reliable for everyone.

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