How to start in an electric car? Our ultimate guide to getting started

Do you want to learn more about electric vehicles, but you can’t find your way through all the information available? Do not panic, our complete guide will allow you to see more clearly with regard to the most important points. Autonomy, cost, recharging: everything will pass.

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The electric car is becoming more and more essential for many people looking for a new automobile, but a lot of information is not easily accessible. While well-informed buyers will undoubtedly have an excellent experience once their new electric vehicle is in their hands, it can be quite different for those who could not have obtained all the necessary information.

Do not panic, we will see in this file all that is important to have in mind before making the big leap towards electric mobility. Between the announced autonomy which does not necessarily represent reality, the charging powers that must be deciphered, or even the way of planning its recharges in long journeys, everything will pass. You will then be in a better position to apprehend electric mobility without fear, having in mind the important aspects.

The electric car, a new philosophy

The overwhelming majority of electric vehicle buyers will have experience from the world of thermal cars, and many habits and preconceived ideas will be forgotten. Where a few minutes at the gas pump were enough to set off again for sometimes nearly 1,000 kilometers of autonomy, and where the temperature, the wind or the management of long journeys were only rarely a subject of concern, with an electric car that is not perfectit will be fundamentally different.

2019 –  New Renault ZOE press tests in Sardinia (3)
The charging socket of the Renault Zoé // Source: Jean-Brice Lemal for Renault France

If you are worried about the ecological impact of an electric car, our dedicated file will immerse you in detail on this point, and disentangle the true from the false on these so-called “zero emission” vehicles. We also scan the biggest prejudices about electric vehicles in our file on the subject, so that you can see more clearly. Finally, if you’re worried about how the increase in the number of electric vehicles will impact the French electricity networkour file on this subject is made for you.

How to charge your electric car

Main source of potential concern related to the switch to electric: recharging. Whether on a daily basis or on long journeys, this is something that every owner will have in mind, so that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

If you have the possibility, we can only recommend the installation of a home charging solution, and we have a file available for you to help you define the Wallbox you need. With a charging point where the vehicle can refill its battery when parked overnight, you will have the double advantage of not having to worry about charging on a daily basis, while driving for a limited cost. In effect, it currently takes between two and three euros only to travel 100 kilometers in an electric car recharged at home.

Wallbox SB Copper
Wallbox SB Copper // Source : wallbox.com

If unfortunately it is not possible for you to charge at home, we have a guide to show you what the alternatives are. You will see that it is quite possible, although it is less comfortable, to own an electric car without having a charger at home. Be careful though, with the different public charging operators, the necessary cards, and the applications to install, it is easy to get lost. So we have a dedicated file dealing with the various top-up cards that are good to have to deal with any eventuality.

Regarding the fast charge, which will be mainly useful during journeys exceeding several hundred kilometers, we have a summary of the different networks that are established in France to help you. On this specific point, beware of manufacturers’ announcements regarding charging speeds and times. Indeed, it is important to keep in mind that the maximum power of fast charging is usually only very briefly reached, and it decreases as the charge progresses.

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The Tesla Model 3 Propulsion charging on an Ionity terminal // Source: Bob JOUY for Frandroid

A vehicle advertised with a charging power of 250 kW, for example, will only reach this power under very specific conditions (ideal temperature, optimal remaining battery level, etc.), and for a few minutes in the best case scenario. In the same way, if the manufacturers announce a charging time of 10 to 80% of 30 minutes, it will be necessary to understand that there too, it will only be under ideal conditions, with a sufficiently powerful charger, and that the reality could be quite different.

Do not hesitate to consult Fastned carrier support pages, which will undoubtedly answer your questions about the fast charging of your vehicle. On the example below concerning a Hyundai Ioniq 5, you will see in particular the explanations on the maximum power reached, and thanks to the charging curve presented you will know what power to expect according to the current battery level of the car.

Fastned Ioniq 5
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 support page on the Fastned site

Finally, the costs related to fast charging are an element that must be borne in mind during long trips: they are usually much higher than a home charge, and the cost per 100 kilometers can soar to sometimes more than 15 euros, approaching the price of a thermal vehicle. You will find some examples on our article about Ionity here. Finally, you want a more detailed analysis of Tesla’s fast charging and its network of Superchargers, our summary file is there for you.

To end on the long journeys, count about 20 minutes of charge for 250 kilometers traveled or 20 minutes every 2 hours. This figure is only there to give you an idea of ​​how long an electric car journey will take, including the charging times required. They will generally be carried out in several times, in order to limit the duration (it is less time-consuming to multiply small loads).

If in a thermal vehicle you were already followers of the regulatory breaks of 20 minutes every two hours, this will not have a significant impact. After two hours on the road, 20 minutes of recharging which will coincide with your break will allow you to set off again for two hours or 250 kilometers in electric cars equipped with a good capacity battery (over 60 kWh for sedans).

What is the range of an electric car?

Another essential element of an electric car: its range. If it is recorded that for daily journeys of a few tens of kilometers, any connected car will do, the problem is very different when longer journeys are looming. Many cars advertise today autonomy ranging from 300 to 600 kilometers, but this will only very rarely represent reality.

To understand a little better the different ways in which the theoretical ranges of electric cars are calculated, our dedicated file is an excellent starting point. If you have to remember one thing: do not imagine driving as many kilometers as the vehicle manufacturer advertises. There are a few tricks we share however if you want to play the game of eco-driving and lowering your energy consumption to maximize the range of your electric carbut some are difficult to apply on a daily basis.

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Volvo C40 Recharge – Paris National Testing – December 2021

The consumption of an electric car varies greatly depending on certain parameters such as the outside temperature or the wind, but the most influential parameter is undoubtedly the speed. Where some thermal cars consume less on the highway at 130 km/h than in town, in electric cars the situation is quite different. Expect to significantly increase your fuel consumption when traveling at high speedsgenerally around 30% more than consumption in urban areas.

On an electric car, consumption is estimated in kilowatt hours per 100 kilometers, or in watt hours per kilometer. To draw a parallel with a thermal vehicle, if with a 50 liter tank and a consumption of 5 liters per 100 kilometers you can travel 1,000 kilometers, an electric car with a battery capacity of 50 kWh and a consumption of 20 kilowatt hours at 100 kilometers will have a maximum range of 250 kilometers.

In mixed use, here are some examples of typical consumption according to the category of car considered. Keep in mind that this is only a rough estimateand that depending on the vehicle and the type of driving, the figures may vary in one direction or the other.

  • Citadine : 12 kWh/100 km
  • Compact : 13 kWh/100 km
  • Berlin : 15 kWh/100 km
  • SUV compact : 17 kWh/100 km
  • SUV familial : 20 kWh/100 km

Aid for the purchase of an electric car

Electric cars benefit from substantial tax advantages compared to their thermal counterparts, which can significantly lower the bill. In addition to the lower cost in use, a ecological bonus is granted in 2022 electric vehicles sold for less than 60,000 euros. Our complete file summarizes what you will be entitled to, depending on the case, with regard to this ecological bonus.

In addition to this ecological bonus valid for a new or used electric car, a conversion bonus is available if you scrap an old combustion engine vehicle when buying an electric car. Details on eligibility and the amount of the award are available on the government website provided for this purpose.

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Source : Frandroid

Of course, there is no ecological penalty on electric vehicleseven on the most powerful, which greatly benefits them when calculating the bill to pay compared to a sports thermal car, the amount of the penalty for which can sometimes exceed 10,000 euros.

Companies have a strong financial incentive to acquire an electric vehiclesince it will be exempt from TVS (tax on company vehicles), and the battery can be fully amortized (between 15,000 and 30,000 euros depending on battery capacity).

Which electric car to buy?

Finally, to go further and help you in the decision-making process, we have at your disposal many guides that will allow you to define the vehicle that suits you. In particular, we have a comparison of the best electric cars as well as these specialized guides:


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