City and countryside
When in Paris, we topped up the battery using the city’s network of low-speed AC chargers, which were installed in late 2011 for the car-sharing service Autolib. After that service was discontinued in 2018, the Total state oil company won a contract in 2020 to renovate and extend the network.
Charging tariffs are calculated by time instead of kWh. Prices vary according to the location, type of contract and charging speed (3.7 to 22 kWh). For three different recharges we paid 34 to 48 euro cents per kWh.
During our stay we had a one-day, 300-km test on suburban highways and country roads around Paris. Thanks to the lower speeds, higher energy recuperation and limited use of the air conditioner, energy consumption was down to 15 kWh/100 km or 6.2 kms per kWh. This aligns with the car’s promised 450 km of range with a full battery charge.
A hellacious return
The return trip took four hours longer and more stressful because of operator error (my planning mistakes) and a malfunctioning charger.
Here is when things when wrong. During my second stop on the way home the Ionity charger worked at a top speed of 60 kW instead of the 200-plus kW I had at the other station.
Therefore, I decided to end the charge at only 53 percent instead increasing the battery to 80 to 90 percent as I had at previous stops. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough power to reach the next Ionity fast charger.
That forced me to stop at an AVIA station in Valleiry, southeast France, where a 43-kW charger was available. Although I didn’t have a subscription, I managed to start the charge with my credit card. But after a couple of minutes, I realized that no juice was being added. I called the help desk and was told they “had received similar complaints about that charger.” It was time to start searching for another charger.
The next charger worked, unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to stop the charge without calling another help desk to have them shut it off remotely. At least the battery was sufficiently replenished.
Sadly, the multiple delays mean I wouldn’t reach the Mont Blanc tunnel before a scheduled closing for maintenance at 7:30 p.m.
That meant a detour through Switzerland, adding more time to the trip.
Luckily just one more charge was needed. Using a 350-kW Ionity charger, I refilled the battery to 90 percent from 8 percent in 28 minutes.