On Charge: Where to Charge Your Electric Rental Car in France
Planning a driving holiday around France, but keen to keep your environmental footprint as low as possible? Hiring an electric car (also known as an EV) is the perfect solution. Never driven one before? There are a few things you’ll want to think about before you hit the road – including where and when you’ll be able to charge your EV.
From how to find charging points around France’s cities and towns to how often you’ll need to stop to power up, here are a few handy tips to help keep your electric hire car up and running during a memorable French driving holiday.
How many electric charging points are there in France?
France is one of the most forward-thinking countries in Europe when it comes to electric vehicles and is actually home to over 30,000 charging points. However, as the nation stretches out for over 248,000 square miles (6.4 million square kilometres), it can often be pretty tricky to find them!
As well as using European apps and websites like Chargemap and Izivia to find your nearest EV charging points, you can expect there to be some in most cities and larger towns. If in doubt, check for charging points at:
- Service stations
- Outside hotels
- Near busy restaurants
- Major tourist attractions
- On-street parking zones
If you’ve hired a Tesla, you’ll find charging points at all the above, as well as at Tesla dealerships across France.
How do you pay to charge your electric hire car?
Unlike paying for petrol where you have the choice of using cash or credit card, you’ll need to either have a payment card or app to charge your EV. In France, the most common ones are Izivia or KiWhi, although many car brands also have their own versions.
If you’re passing an Auchan supermarket, some have EV charging points which are often free to use. In general, paying to charge an electric car is cheaper than paying for petrol, meaning it’s not only an eco-friendlier method of travel, but also more economical.
Are there different charging points for different electric cars?
Yes. The charging points you’ll be able to use will depend on both the make of your rental car and its connector type. Before you set off on your journey, make sure you double check with your Europcar agent which chargers you’ll be able to use.
You can then map out a driving route which includes compatible charging stations for your EV. Some online apps like the previously mentioned Chargemap allow you to filter by vehicle and connector type to show you exactly where you’ll be able to charge your electric car in every region of France.
How often do you need to charge an electric car?
If you’ve decided on an electric rental car while you’re visiting France, how often you’ll need to charge it will depend on a few factors:
- The make of the car – Just as some cars need more petrol than others, the same applies for charging electric cars. It’s a good idea to check the recommended charging times and driving capacity of your EV model when you pick it from Europcar.
- The voltage of the charger – EVs are typically charged with either a 120 volt or 240 volt outlet. Charging with a 240 volt circuit will be much faster and you’ll likely find that most public charging station use this voltage. If you’ve hired a Tesla, you can take advantage of Superchargers which add over 150 miles (240km) driving capacity to your vehicle in just 30 minutes.
- How far and fast you’re driving – If you’re setting off on an epic French road trip that’ll take you along motorways with higher speed limits, you’ll understandably need to recharge your EV more than if you’re simply nipping out to the shops.
How long does it take to charge an EV?
Again, the length of time you’ll need to charge your electric car will massively depend on certain factors. Namely, the type of charger you’re using. 120 volt chargers (also known as Level 1 chargers) are by far the slowest option, adding around 4-5 miles (8km) of driving range to your EV every hour. You’re better off using a 240 volt charger (Level 2 charger), which adds between 15 and 25 miles (24km-40km) of range per hour.
As EVs can take a while to power up, it’s a good idea to only hire one for a major road trip if you’re taking it slow and have the time to stop off at regular intervals to charge it. Plan out a route which means you only need to travel for a maximum of 100 miles (160km) per day. This will also allow you to soak up France’s historic cities, quaint towns and spectacular countryside at a much more leisurely pace.
Now you know how and where to charge your EV in France, why not take a look at our other inspirational driving guides? Consider a weekend exploring the verdant landscapes of the Fontainebleau Forest or filling your belly with traditional treats on a baking-themed road trip.