Travelling from one side of the country to the other in a car with a battery? A few years ago, it would have been an exciting adventure. Nowadays, it is relatively straightforward. Rapid and ultra-rapid charging stations have sprung up at motorway services as well as on smaller roads. With just a little preparation beforehand, there are now no limits to where you can go in your EV. Here are a few tips for a smooth journey.
Pinpoint your charging breaks
Before setting off, it’s a good idea to check out the charging stations you want to use along the way. The budding network does sometimes suffer from technical hitches, even if these are becoming rarer. As the spread of charging stations isn’t that dense or constant for the moment, a single charging station out of order can increase the route you planned by a few dozen kilometres.
To find out where to stop to top up your battery, you can use online tools such as the Chargemap charging station location application. Some carmakers like Tesla have built route planners into the dashboard display. Obviously, drivers who are used to travelling by electric car can trust in their own experience to determine when they should take a break and top up.
Before setting off, it is helpful to identify the charging stations along the way where you can top up as your journey unwinds. The Chargemap map pinpoints thousands of charging stations everywhere in Europe and offers a filter for your route. It displays all the charging stations along the roads you will be driving down.
You can set the filter parameters for several options, such as the type of connector your car uses and the power rating of your choice.
The new advanced filters available in our premium Chargemap Plus offer will make your search even easier since it includes a filter per type of facility or a network filter.
For example, you can enter one or more charging networks as your favourites and others to be avoided. This is a practical solution if you are driving by motorway and only want ultra-rapid charging networks like Tesla or Ionity superchargers to be displayed.
If it is important for you to access additional services like restaurants and shops, the facility filter can be very useful. And of course, the time spent charging will just fly by!
There are also route planners that automatically detect which charging stations you should use and the charging time required for each stop. The tool is based on information such as your starting point, arrival point, vehicle model, battery level at the start, the speed you want to drive at etc. However, you mustn’t rely on it completely as the indications given are theoretical. Your driving is not necessarily absolutely constant over hundreds of kilometres and the route can hold many surprises along the way.
Choosing a means of payment for charging your EV
Each charging network has its very own mode of access. Some offer payment by credit/debit card, either directly on a dedicated terminal (quite rare at the current time), or via a smartphone application, or an internet site signalled by an address or QR code displayed at the charging station. While this system looks practical at first sight, it is not necessarily simpler or less expensive.
The most common means of payment remains a badge. If you want to, you can get a badge for each network, but you will soon discover this is not the best solution. To avoid juggling with dozens of badges, companies called “mobility operators” market universal cards enabling you to access a significant number of charging stations on the various networks. This is where Chargemap and the Chargemap Pass come in, providing you with access to tens of thousands of charging stations across France and Europe. Moreover, we have just capped the landmark of 100,000 charging stations compatible with the Chargemap badge! 🎉 To locate them, nothing could be easier. Simply activate the “compatible with Chargemap Pass” filter when you use your app.
Charging prices vary considerably according to the networks. Some are free of charge, others provide paying services. The rates can be consulted directly at the charging station if you use the badge associated with the network or your mobility operator’s mobile app or website. To finance their operating costs, mobility operators charge a small commission on what you pay for the charge, amounting to a few euro centimes per kilowatt-hour, session or time slot. With a mobility operator’s badge, like the Chargemap Pass, you can quickly and easily access all the charging stations along your journey without any fuss. No need to enter your credit/debit card number, flash a QR code, or download an app each time you charge. All you need to do is swipe your badge and plug in your car. Once the charging session is over, you can consult how much it costs on your client page.
So… your route is planned, your badge prepared and your car 100% charged. It’s time to set off. It’s a good idea to start off with your battery level nearing the full mark – higher than 90%. This means you’ll cut down on charging stops and drive in a calmer frame of mind. During your journey, you should drive like you usually do and remain flexible, adapting your behaviour to the characteristics of your EV. Some models consume less energy than others and are equipped with lower or higher capacity batteries. Your speed should depend on the distance you need to cover to your next stop and the profile of the road. You can consult differences in elevation directly on Chargemap using the route function.
If you are travelling from sea level to go up into the mountains, consumption will be greater than estimated because of the uphill climb. Don’t worry – if you have planned your journey correctly, and drive smoothly, you won’t have any trouble along the way.
And don’t cut back on creature comforts if your car is equipped with a heat-pump air-conditioning/heating system. It is very economical and the impact on range is negligible. Using the on-board radio, headlamps, dashboard display and USB ports has no impact whatsoever on your battery. So drive in comfort!
Now all you have to do is enjoy your trip free of noise, vibrations and polluting emissions. If you stretch your legs when you stop off to top up, take a stroll around to see the sights or sip a cup of coffee at a motorway service station, the charging time will pass by faster than you think. You can check the charging level remotely by using the smartphone app provided by the carmaker. Have a safe journey with Chargemap!
If you are looking for a badge to access thousands of charging stations across Europe,