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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! Covid-19 restrictions permitting, we are taking our Seat Mii (same as a VW e-Up!) to France in Summer. My question is: Are there any networks that always/usually have multiple CCS connectors in one place, other than Ionity?

As we have a relatively low range (161 miles/260km WLTP) and relatively slow "Rapid" charging, I am concerned at the aparrent lack of reliable CCS chargers, just looking at reports on PlugShare etc. Additionally, one of the bigger networks, Izivia has just removed 80% of it's chargers because of a safety issue.

We are happy to plan our trip carefully around charging, but do not want to risk unreliable solo chargers or hold other drivers up due to our slow charge rate.

Ionity just don't have quite enough in France for us to use them entirely. After Calais, heading South we probably wouldn't make it to the next one in Reims.

Any help would be appreciated, thankyou!

(P.S - Before anyone says what we are doing is ridiculous - We know, that's part of the adventure! Last time we went round France was in a 30 year old Mini which was challenging for other reasons. Want to be a bit greener this time!!)

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14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ridiculous? I am your biggest fan already. Lovely adventure, should do the same actually!
I recommend reading my EV guide to France well before you go. It is available free of charge for everybody, because the situation in France is still "messy". Charging wise.
Total is now expanding their HPC network, lots of gray here, still. Summer will be exciting, travel permitting I expect a crowd you will not believe at the fast chargers. You can always get in touch with me about personal travel recommendations. I run a patreon page, if you sign up you can request personal EV travel advice for all your future adventures.
For travel inspiration I recommend reading my blogs with the EQC and the e-tron around France, to give you an idea about the infrastructure. If you want to find more about my travels with for example the DS3 and the Ioniq around France I suggest checking out my Polarsteps page.
Thanks Felix, yes I think you're right about the crowds at charging points over the next couple of Summers! There are going to be thousands of new enthusiastic EV owners like me desperate to give longer distances a try. This is the reason I am looking specifically for places with multiple chargers so that I won't feel too guilty delaying drivers of cars with far superior rapid charging!!

I had already seen your excellent EV Guide to France and this would have filled me with confidence had it not been for the recent news about the Izivia problem. In fact I have just been scrolling around the PlugShare map and I'm struggling to find any CCS chargers alongside major roads in Northern France that have recent successful reports. Not good! Thankyou I may well take you up on the offer of advice at a later date.In the mean time, thankyou very much for your detailed reply! :)

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not ridiculous at all! Its a great adventure as electricfelix has said! Story time ...

Not sure of the route you are taking but early March 2020 I made a trip to Geneva and back. I will detail my experience below to give you an idea. Since then the Maingau card no longer offers reasonable Ionity charging costs. Back in March 2020 I was paying €0.39/kW I recall. Now its double that! I have a Charge Point RFID which does offer slightly cheaper Ionity charging in Europe and can be used with Instavolt in the UK. The Maingau card is still useful for 50kW rapids especially in Austria/Switzerland/Netherlands I believe. I also took an Izivia card, KiWhi card, ChargeMap card, Plug Surfing card, Révéo and a Shell Recharge card! Its worth setting accounts up for all of these. With so many accounts I started a log book to keep notes on charging and costs.

So to the trip ... I charged to 81% at the EuroTunnel terminal. Don't rely on these working however. Best to use the Instavolt nearby before entering the EuroTunnel terminal complex. After a swift 35 minute crossing via the EuroTunnel (I had to remove the MG's aerial due to low clearance on the train) I set off to my first French rapid, a superb collection of four Ionity CCS ultra-rapids and a standard 3 head 50kW rapid charger at Aire de Rely to 88% (Izivia Corri-Door not working). Next was at an Izivia Corri-Door charger that actually worked at the Cambrai Intermarche to 79%.

A final free top up (to 81%) at Aire d’Urveilles Total service station on the autoroute got me to the first night stay at a BritHotel in Reims Nord. They do not have EV charging available however for overnight guests.

Next day the only available chargers in Reims were multiple Ionity chargers west of the city on the A4 towards Paris. Charged to 81% headed west to the first exit and returned east and topped up to 86% from the Ionity opposite the one previously used. Its a 23km round trip to the charger and back as someone had already warned me about. Though there is a service tunnel connecting west and eastbound service stations, its only for use by autoroute employees! I did ask but was refused and I kindly suggested that it would be great if EVs were allowed to use the service tunnel due to the lack of other rapids in the Reims area. The kind lady promised to pass on my suggestion to the autoroute company!

The Izivia Corri-Door charger at Aire de Sommesous is also one of the broken units but luckily it was easy to get to Troyes on the last 81% charge from the Ionity unit arriving with 18%. In Troyes I spent the night at BritHotel Comptes de Champagne (recommended as Troyes does not have many rapids) where I had requested on booking the use of the 7Kw fast charger socket in their secure garage. There is only one socket in the garage. At a public car park nearby there are two additional type 2 sockets. The hotel charged €7.00 for parking but this included the charge to 100% overnight. Happy with that!

The final day took me to Geneva via Aire de Langres-Perrogny Ionity rapids (89%), and Aire du Jura Ionity making sure I charged to 95% before climbing over the Jura Mountains to Gex. In Geneva I charged the next day at the airport but would not recommend it as its horrendously expensive. They charge a connection fee, a per kWh fee and a by the minute fee as well as a parking charge on top! Better to head to Signy Avia Auto garage in the hills not far north of Nyon if you need a charge in that area. I used the Maingau card there.

After three days of skiing with friends, France was shut down completely and I had to make a dash back! After plugging in the granny charger at my friends house, I left the next morning climbing back over the Jura. It was chaos, police, riot squads, 15km traffic jams south of Paris and general population in a state of panic. I won't bore you with the charging details but luckily I managed to book a ferry from Dieppe to Newhaven with the confirmation coming through five minutes before they closed the booking system. At Dieppe there were about 80 people who had just turned up but they would not sell them tickets. I was waved on by a smile and congratulations from the ticket staff! 10 cars and a few lorries on board. I do not want to repeat that return journey again under those circumstances!

I understand that slowly the IziVia rapids that were faulty are being replaced along the French autoroutes. Another tip is that Total are rolling out rapid chargers too (I used one to the west of Paris at Aire de Limour-Janvy) on the way to Dieppe). Here they had quite expensive ultra rapids but also a 50kW rapid at half the price so I used that as the MG ZS EV does not really benefit from ultra rapid charge speeds.

From my log book and various accounts, the whole trip from the South of Scotland to Geneva and back was 2126 miles (3421km). Total trip cost £126.40 (6p/mile).
Hi Ric and thanks very much for your detailed reply! I had an equally exciting journey back to the UK from Indonesia before the first lockdown which took me to Tokyo and Helsinki! Clearly not a story for an EV forum though! Glad you made it back ok.

My enthusiasm for a drive through France has been further dented by discovering that Ionity now charge a ridiculous 79 cents per MINUTE!! This might be great if you have a car capable of 200kW charging but it would cost me 45 Euros to charge our little Seat to do 250km so they are going to have to be an absolute last resort. Am I understanding that correctly!? I have the ChargePoint card and app for use on Ionity in the UK as it saves about 10p per kW but I don't know if it will work in France...?

I will look again at Total, thankyou again although I couldn't find a website or app that seemed to filter them out very well when I looked before.
We don't really have a route or even a destination yet so plenty of options. I just have a EuroTunnel booking that needs to be used! We though it might be nice to end up in Monaco though! Wondering if we might be better heading via Belgium and Germany before heading South as the CCS situation looks better there.

Will keep this thread updated on planning progress!
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