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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a long one but I hope it’s also useful.

I work in the energy sector as an environmental sustainability officer and have been trying to avoid flying wherever possible. I also work to promote EVs internally and externally so recently combined a love of snowboarding with the desire answer the commonly raised concern “EVs are great for everything part from long journeys” once and for all using personal experience. So me and my son drove from Worcestershire to Les Gets,
France, in my Polestar 2.
Here’s how it went. How I planned it. What I did and what I’d suggest you do if you plan something similar.

Firstly I planned the sh*t out of the trip.
More than was really necessary to be fair. ABRP was hugely useful, not the PS2 version of course, but the phone and windows version. To be honest ABRP pretty much planned everything perfectly just by telling it to prefer Ionity chargers.
And we did indeed make our entire trip down via ionity chargers. Ionity is expensive (when you lose your Plugsurfing discount) but to be honest I’ll use them even when it’s gone thanks to the reliability and ease of use. They really were Tesla level reliable. We only had to wait for a few minutes twice, and even then everyone was super kind and patient. Note: this maybe a product of the current generation of early(ish) EV adopters being nice people; it may not last!
Anyway, Ionity was flawless and fast. I regularly saw 155KW of charging between 5%-60%. As someone who trained as an electrical engineer and appreciates that that’s enough power to supply an entire village seeing that kind of energy go into my car kinda blows my mind!

However I didn’t want to put all my eggs in the ionity basket so here’s the other apps/cards I installed/ordered and my thoughts on them.

PlugShare:
I installed the app and ordered an RFID card. It came in less than a week. I never used either, but I don’t mind as it’s usable in both France and the UK and may come in handy one day! The app was also really useful in identifying free chargers while in France.

Chargemap:
As PlugShare, this app and card allow access to a lot of chargers in France. I never used of needed either the app or the card. But it was nice to have as a back up just in case.
Also like PlugShare The app was useful in identifying free chargers.

IZIVIA:
This one was a massive win!
It’s usable in the UK (but not very widely) but in France it opens up loads of charge points, many of the free. If you are planning a trip through France this and Ionity would pretty much see you right.
The biggest win that the IZIVIA card provided was a free charge at the Folkestone Eurotunnel terminal.
ZapMap shows only Tesla chargers there. However there is a French IZIVIA charger that gave me a free charge up to 90% thanks to my IZIVIA card. I have no idea whether the free charge was an error/fluke but I don’t seem to have paid.
I did get a couple of other free charges on motorway services and in supermarkets thanks to the IZIVIA rfid card I ordered before the trip.
On the downside the app didn’t show all available free destination chargers in France; win some, lose some!

Plugsurfing:
You all know the score, but my Plugsurfing card gave me access to the ionity network. When I planned my trip I did notice that some Ionity chargers did not show up on the Plugsurfing app. I sent Plugsurfing support a question about this and they said that any Ionity station not showing on the Plugsurfing app would not be usable with my Plugsurfing card, nor get the discount. HOWEVER, I found this to be incorrect. ALL the ionity chargers accepted my Plugsurfing card and at least one of those that didn’t show up on the Plugsurfing app did not charge my Plugsurfing account. This may have been a lucky fluke, or possibly an error that has since been fixed. Either way I didn’t complain and suggest we all keep it to ourselves ;)

On arrival in the alps we found no shortage of free destination chargers. Usually 3 phase Tesla ones in public car parks. In Les Gets and Morzine there were ones at most of the car parks near telecabins. The IZIVIA app often incorrectly showed these free chargers as having a fee. While PlugShare was more accurate and Chargemap was the best.
So as already mentioned, while IZIVIA was useful for actual access to charging networks it was the worst for accurate info. Chargemap won that prize.

Here is the list of Ionity Chargers I used for the trips both to the alps and the return. Shown in order of going to the alps with postcode/zipcode:


  1. Maidstone ME17 1SS
  2. Shell Channel Gateway CT21 4BL
  3. Autoroute des Anglais, 62120, Rely
  4. Baralle, Rumaucourt, 62860
  5. Champfleury, 51500
  6. “Troyes South” Bucheres, 10800
  7. “Langres” Perrogney-Les-fontaines 52160 (only 2 stalls)
  8. Jura Ionity. 39140, Arlay
  9. Bonneville, 74130.

Finally, I’d like to say how much fun we had on the trip. I’ve driven to the alps many times in a diesel ICE car and there a tendency to just smash it and drive as far as possible between stops. We were stopping every 120 miles or so and optimising charging time between around 10-60% (although sometimes we’d charge for longer, despite the charge speed slowing at 60% simply because we were busy eating or chatting to a Dutch family in a Mustang Mach-E) and while those stops added around two and a half hours to the total trip time they made it much, much more enjoyable. To the point where while the trip objectively took longer, it felt subjectively shorter and more pleasant. In fact we estimated that we only actually waited, I.e. stood or sat waiting for a charge for around 25 minutes over the whole 1600 mile round trip. All the other stops were taken up by grabbing a drink, visiting the toilets, washing, meeting people of a combination of all the above.

I will honestly never fly to the alps again based on this experience. It goes without saying that the charging network in France (as elsewhere) needs to keep expanding, and rapidly to keep up with the uptake of EVs (a 4 stall ionity station will not cut it in a couple of years) but so long as it does , and so long as it’s reliable, the journey will be a pleasure.

On our last day snowboarding my 15 year old son said “I’m gutted to be leaving, but it’s made easier by the fact I’m actually looking forward to the journey home. And I’d NEVER be saying that if we were flying!”

Oh, and one final, final point; the amount of stares and rubber-necking the Polestar got in France was crazy! Vanessa Paradis driving a soft top Ferrari while naked would have received less attention!

I hope this is useful to someone. I know it would have been useful to me if I’d have seen it before I left!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Not always, but sometimes yeah. I don’t have pictures >35% but as you can see from the pic at 27% we were still at 152kw. Pretty much always had >120kw up to 55%. That’s where the throttling started.
 

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Amazing write-up! Love to see more photos of Polestar/scene.
 
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Great write up thank you! I from the UK but are in The Netherlands now and have similar experiences. Charger anxiety is cured. The plug surfing card works everywhere even some obscure car park charges and the pole outside our airbnb. I've not used ABRP at all, just use google in the car and the add way point feature for the charger. It is very good at near real time availability and speeds. I a little while we will be off to Austria, then the summer in South of France.

I find the infrastructure way better outside of the UK.
 

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Hi, very nice write up, enjoyed reading it.
After reading it,I immediately downloaded the Izivia App to look for the free chargers you mentioned in France. However I can't seem to find any. Is this only when you order the 15 eur Rfid cart?
Or are these the chargers that are mentioned as 1 EUR service fee?

Thanks
 

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MY 2022, Long Range Dual-Motor, Snow/Nappa, Pilot, Plus, Tow hitch
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Great write-up and interesting tip regarding Izivia! I'm planning a trip this summer from Norway to the UK, so examining all useable charging accounts. Out of interest, which Izivia subscription did you choose? I'm only touching France, but will want to charge near Dunkirk on the outbound journey.
 

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Great write-up and interesting tip regarding Izivia! I'm planning a trip this summer from Norway to the UK, so examining all useable charging accounts. Out of interest, which Izivia subscription did you choose? I'm only touching France, but will want to charge near Dunkirk on the outbound journey.
I can see France out my window, I can see the Portes du Soleil in fact (*). If there's free charging I'll be trying that :)

(*) not today as it's foggy
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi, very nice write up, enjoyed reading it.
After reading it,I immediately downloaded the Izivia App to look for the free chargers you mentioned in France. However I can't seem to find any. Is this only when you order the 15 eur Rfid cart?
Or are these the chargers that are mentioned as 1 EUR service fee?

Thanks
I also found the chargers don’t show up as free. However when I used the card I didn’t seem to have been charged 🤷🏼‍♂️
i don’t know if this was a fault, intended or just very good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Great write-up and interesting tip regarding Izivia! I'm planning a trip this summer from Norway to the UK, so examining all useable charging accounts. Out of interest, which Izivia subscription did you choose? I'm only touching France, but will want to charge near Dunkirk on the outbound journey.
I just went for the basic subscription and paid for the card.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I can see France out my window, I can see the Portes du Soleil in fact (*). If there's free charging I'll be trying that :)

(*) not today as it's foggy
Very jealous!
The best free charger we found was at the Mont Chery telecabin. It’s 22kw. The others were only 3kw.
Although as you can see here there’s not a huge amount of space at the Mont Chery!
Car Wheel Land vehicle Vehicle Tire
 

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Great post, really interesting. I'm certainly curious about taking my car further afield. I've only had it a month so 140miles in a day is the most its done just yet but we will get there.

Great write up thank you! I from the UK but are in The Netherlands now and have similar experiences. Charger anxiety is cured. The plug surfing card works everywhere even some obscure car park charges and the pole outside our airbnb. I've not used ABRP at all, just use google in the car and the add way point feature for the charger. It is very good at near real time availability and speeds. I a little while we will be off to Austria, then the summer in South of France.

I find the infrastructure way better outside of the UK.
There's a bunch of rare (within the UK at least) Fastned chargers around my home in North East England. I've got them set up to autocharge as soon as I plug in (you can do that in the app the first time you visit one). I note they are all over the Netherlands and am very jealous of that. Certainly would be making use of them if I were you.
 
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