how Tesla and Electra will save your summer vacation?

Driving on the A6 motorway heading south with an electric car is an obstacle course. But Electra and Tesla will allow you to reach the coast without a hitch with new charging stations.

Official speeches and advertisements are intended to be reassuring: the electric car now makes it possible to envisage long journeys. Of course, some models are still not suitable for exercise, while most references occupy a segment where the needs are almost unique. If autonomy still worries some users, it is no longer really a problem with the rapid development of the network of charging stations in France. To tell the truth, it is more the frequency of stops and the recharging powers that are to be taken into consideration for those who want to try to reproduce travel times similar to those of a thermal car. But the specter of running out of fuel has not completely disappeared.

An area without fast charging stations

Because if the network becomes denser as specified by the AVERE barometer, the distribution of terminals with consistent charging powers can still be improved. Proof of this, and not the least, with the route linking Paris to Lyon by the A6 motorway: on this particularly busy section, there was until then a gap of 251 km between two recharging stations worthy of the name for large summer migrations. That is to say, sites large enough to be able to supply several cars at the same time, with recharging powers allowing each to reach their maximum performance in this area.

The only solution for those who wish to venture into the Morvan therefore: an SDEY terminal of 160 kW DC, installed at exit 22 near Sauvigny-le-bois. But this one is as often broken down as a Rover SD1. To be sure, just read the many negative comments on ChargeMap, which report faulty hardware and unsuccessful recharges. An unfortunate situation that we encountered during our Supertest of the Renault Megane e-Tech.

280 km of autonomy, the vital minimum

From then on, you had to either take the motorway in the other direction to go to an Ionity station (a waste of time and money), make a detour via Dijon on the A38 and A31, or run aground on terminals local with, at best, 50 kW DC power, at worst, AC power within the limits of the car’s on-board charger. If we still have to agree to make concessions to travel by electric car, these are unacceptable in our eyes for a motorway journey: we should not find ourselves loading on the Place du Presbytère on the corner when we are launched at 130 km/h in the fast lane. Especially on a toll motorway at the price of €35.80, all the same, between the tolls of Fleury-en Bière and Villefranche-Limas.

In short, to be able to cross the Morvan and this white zone without incident, you must have an electric vehicle with a motorway autonomy of more than 280 km. And these are often high-end models like the Korean duo Kia EV6/Hyundai Ioniq 5 or the German duo Audi e-Tron GT/Porsche Taycan. This is a minimum to have enough energy for 250 km from 100% to 10% battery. But this will require a full recharge at the Reserve area on an Ionity terminal, which can be costly at worst depending on the charging speed of the car concerned, and at best unprofitable. What cool more than one driver to take this axis to reach the south of France.

The longest Supercharger in the world, open to everyone

But recently, Tesla and Electra can travel possible: the two operators have decided to set up in Beaune, just next to the motorway, at the confluence of the A6, A31 and A36. Between them, no less than 36 Combo-CCS direct current charging points are available. And the majority of the troops are on the side of the Supercharger with 28 terminals installed along an E.Leclerc supermarket. Accessible from exit 24, they form the longest Tesla SuC in the world! And these terminals are part of the pilot program which aims to open Superchargers to all compatible cars.

We should therefore expect to find a lot of Tesla on this station, but also at lower charging powers for “non-Tesla”. In any case, this is what we have noticed on several occasions on the Vélizy 2 Supercharger, near Paris. Also, it seems that the compatibility problem between Superchargers and Korean electrics based on the e-GMP platform has still not been resolved: our test Hyundai Ioniq 5 plugged in that day during our Supertest never started load despite our various attempts.

Electra slashes prices

What she does not hesitate to do on the Electra terminals. After a first test in Aubervilliers with an urban station, the French operator is opening its second station in the parking lot of the Greet Hotel Beaune, accessible in less than two minutes from exit 24.1. There are four terminals here with a total of 4 Combo-CCS sockets with a maximum power of 225 kW, but also a CHAdeMO socket and a Type 2 AC socket. An acceptable number of charging points and corresponding powers for a motorway journey.

But Electra takes off from the American operator with aggressive pricing: the terminals display a single price of €0.44/kWh, compared to €0.68/kWh at Tesla. Charging a Renault Megane there from 10 to 80% would represent, according to our data from our Supertest, a cost of €20 at Electra, compared to €31 at Tesla.

These charging stations future victims of their success?

In any case, because of their position, these two sites already promise holiday travelers using the A6 motorway easy recharging without worry. This now limits this “white” zone from the Reserve area to only 180 km against, let’s remember, 250 km previously. A distance that many popular models on the motorway, such as the Renault Megane e-Tech or the Volkswagen ID.3, can cover with flying colors, among others, while leaving the Reserve with 80% charge in their battery. Even the Aiways U5, a real kWh pump, can do this with a battery charged at just over 90% as a safety measure.

But, on the other hand, these terminals could potentially be stormed, since located in a place where many gauges would end up in the red. This would be the case for cars going down the A6, but also for those arriving from the A31: if a Fastned station was opened on the outskirts of Dijon 28 km before, it only offers four charging ports. Something to pass your turn on a day of great departure. On the A36 side, Glanon’s Ionity station is a little better supplied with 6 CCS 350 kW connectors.

Also, given the pricing policies practiced, Tesla owners might not find many cars from other brands on this Supercharger. The latter (like the Tesla, for that matter) would probably prefer to save money by recharging at full power on the Electra terminals. But dissatisfaction could be at the rendezvous in front of the turquoise colored terminals: because with a view to facilitating the charging process, the operator offers a terminal reservation system with almost no time limit. Some users could therefore find terminals reserved and unusable.

This could prove to be very complicated during crossovers. Answer this summer, where we will not fail to take a trip to Beaune to collect feedback.

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