Why public access charging stations are already out of voltage

April 8, 2022 6:25 am

This is a scenario no one expected. On the one hand, the fleet of electric vehicles was to increase power, and on the other hand, charging stations were planned to be deployed. Registration and infrastructure follow the same trajectory at the same pace. Nothing happened as planned. The curves continue to intersect. The first terminal went into the public domain when there were too few rechargeable cars. As a result, a significant portion of the installed stations are already obsolete. Meanwhile, the registration of electric vehicles panicked. They more than doubled in 2021.

700-750 charging operators

Today, especially the latest generation of terminals is in short supply, allowing long-distance travel thanks to high-speed and even ultra-fast charging. As with any new market, these startup issues are not unexpected. In addition, there are probably a number of actors who have decided to try their luck to become El Dorado someday. In France, there are already 700 to 750 charging operators.

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Among them, the number of sharp experts is increasing. Bump wants to use the station to supply customers of urban professional vehicles such as VTCs and delivery personnel. Driveco chose to install only the AC infrastructure … Bornes Solutions develops only in condominiums. WattPark claims to manufacture the equipment in France. Power Dot proposes to offer turnkey charging stations to small shopping centers, retail chains, or hotel chains. Matthieu Dischamps, French general manager, claims to have identified 350 sites for this market.

Competitor Volta Charging goes a step further. At the same type of location, he wants to offer a free recharge. The terminal is equipped with an advertising screen. It is the advertiser who pays for the driver’s recharge.This system “Electronics for pubs” It already exists in the United States, where Volta operates 2,000 handsets. According to French boss Vincent Grena, since its inception in December, Volta has received great welcome from potential advertiser clients, including commercial real estate owners, franchisees and a network of restaurants. “Billing electricity bills and funding the terminal is not a good model. Guarantee the contractor, In semi-fast mode, you need to charge as fluidly as possible without using the card. Please use it every day. »»

9 out of 10 users are already using the street station

Two years ago, TotalEnergies embarked on a battle in France. Since then, oil giants have deployed essential models for all drivers looking for a terminal. There are only 4,000 public access charging points, including 2,200 in Paris. Philippe Callejon, Director of Mobility and New Energy at TotalEnergies, will launch nearly 500 cars in the underground parking lot in the Madeleine area.

The group’s service station network is also undergoing transformation. On the highway alone, plans for 200 infrastructure are in the process of being deployed by the end of 2023. “The idea is not just to install a terminalPhilippe Callejon explains, We can also serve drivers who spend more than 30 minutes on our site. »» For him, the liveliness of the charging market leaves room for some players. But a wave of reconciliation is inevitable. All these new operators claim to be able to tackle the investment barriers that stand in front of them. You can doubt their optimism.

The cost of the terminal will vary from € 1,500 to € 180,000, depending on the speed of the proposed fare. Networks require dozens, or millions, of investments, and their estimated returns take at least 10 years. In particular, economic models are based on a set of assumptions that are difficult to test for simple reasons. The behavior of drivers who use electricity is constantly changing. Diversity that has caused an explosive increase in pricing formulas. There are over 1,300.

So far, 90% of connections have been made at home and at work. It explains the effervescence of the first ecosystem dedicated to installation on private sites (corporations and condominiums). But it’s changing. According to the latest observatory of the French Roaming Electric Vehicle Charging Association, 9 out of 10 users claim that they are already using the station in public spaces on the road. However, as of the end of February, there were only 55,515 handsets of this type in France, according to a national barometer of charging infrastructure that is open to the public. This is equivalent to a + 53% increase over the course of a year. “Appropriate pace of deployment”Emphasizes Cécile Goubet, President of Avere-France, the association responsible for the development of electric vehicles.

Fines for undeclared out-of-service terminals

However, these public charging points are less developed in France than in other parts of Europe. There are 4.1 per 100 kilometers in France, 14.9 in Portugal, 19.4 in Germany and 47.5 in the Netherlands. “The government planned to set up 100,000 terminals by the end of 2021. We should be able to count one every 70 kilometers. We don’t have an account. Yes, yes, ours. There is room for actors like “, We want to believe in Bertrand Lepage, the founder of the WattPark network.

Therefore, these new operators are just in time to restart the network using Russian roulette. In February, 27% of charging points weren’t working well. Half of the drivers who tried to use them had to contact the hotline. “Most terminals are not equipped with payment terminals and all drivers can use them.”François Gatineau, founder of Mobileese, a company specializing in electrical mobility, said:

Experts recognize the difficulty of getting diagnostics for first-generation handsets by operators. First-generation devices may only work once a week. The country would have taken steps to address the problem. Beginning July 1, devices that have not been used for more than 2 hours will be fined € 300 per charging point and must be declared. This is a necessary measure, but it is difficult to understand how it can be applied. Some charging stations are already out of vehicles. The gendarmerie is even more so.