In France, finding a fast charging station for your electric car will soon be child’s play

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If the target of 100,000 charging stations in France promised by the government has not yet been reached, it announces that all motorway service areas in the country will be equipped with fast charging stations before the end of the semester. Can this promise be kept?

In May 2020, the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, announced a strong objective: make 100,000 charging stations accessible to all electric cars by the end of 2021. The goal ? Support the transition to electric and encourage motorists to opt for this type of engine, which is enjoying increasing success, to the point of surpassing diesel sales at the end of last year.

a new goal

However, we are at the beginning of 2023 and this figure has not yet been reached. In fact, as of January 31, the territory had only 85,284 charging points. This corresponds to an increase of +57% in one year. A great progression that is still not enough, especially since the reliability is not always there. Indeed, according toHave-FranceI150 kW stations are unavailable 22% of the timethe equivalent of seven days per month.

Therefore, France has always lagged behind other European countries, in particular the Netherlands and Germany. But now she intends to change the situation, while the government has just announced a new goal. In an AFP office, broadcast by the site Knowledge of Energiessaid the Minister of Transport, Clément Beaune I want to focus on the roads.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 // Source: Clément Choulot for Frandroid

He states that ” we are able to arrive before the end of the semester all motorway rest areas in France“. We imagine that the Minister is referring to service areas and not all areas, such as rest areas.

A very ambitious goal, while the government is focusing in particular on lowering the price of electricity. However, this has been very high for several months, while the bulk has gone from 85 euros per MWh in 2021 to more than 1,000 euros in France last year. An increase that later impacts charging at home, despite the tariff shield, as well as fast charging.

This is one of the reasons why the government recently announced an “electricity buffer” to reduce the cost of energy for charging station operators. This should result in lower prices, but also new locations in the future. As the firm Xerfi explains, installing a terminal is very expensive for the operators and not at all profitable, due to the cimplementation and operation costsas well as electricity.

A developing network

However, more and more companies are setting up in the service areas of French motorways. Something to reassure motorists, while range remains a major obstacle to buying an electric car and the French would like to be able to drive at least 400 kilometers on a single charge, which is a mistake. We are thinking in particular of Fastned, which signed an alliance with Sanef in April 2022 to install 18 stations on the motorways in the north and east of France.

A few days ago, the company inaugurated a new charging station in the Vémars rest area, made up of terminals displaying a maximum power of 300 kW. In the Netherlands, the firm offers sockets of up to 400 kW, like its rival Circontrol. To benefit from a 15-year concession, Fastned had to commit to changing the number of terminals based on traffic already charge competitive prices.

Hyundai Kona at an Ionity terminal

Other operators are also well established on French motorways, such as TotalEnergies and Ionity, a joint venture created by BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Mercedes and Volkswagen, among others. To overcome the significant cost of implementation and operation, refunds may take place between operators In the future. A situation that puts the Competition Authority on alert, which is preparing to ” examine the competitive performance of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure industry« .

The organization probably wants avoid a situation of monopoly of certain companies, as is the case in Germany, for example, where certain energy providers are granted up to 90% of the charging points in certain cities or regions. A situation that we owe in particular to European regulations, authorizing electricity providers to resell their CO2 credits to the most polluting oil companies, on the condition that they operate their own terminals.

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