If driving an electric car is quite common in 2023, this was not the case until recently. Since 2017, we have been driving exclusively in electric cars. Now is the time to take stock of this experience, and see if electric can be adapted to everyone today.
When I passed my driving test in 2017, I only wanted to drive an electric car. I have, so to speak, not the slightest experience in thermal engineering anywhere other than at the driving school. For six years, I have been traveling the roads of Europe only with a plugged-in car, and it is clear that there have been enormous developments in a short time.
First in a Renault Zoe, then in a Tesla Model 3 and finally in a Tesla Model Y, I was able to get a good idea of what electric mobility is. We are going to look back together at everything that has changed since the beginning of my adventure in electromobility, from charging networks to the number of vehicles available, and we will see if in 2023, electric power can finally be accessible to everyone. .
Driving electric from 2017: a very different era
Spread the word : In 2017, an electric car driver was a bit of an alien. At least, much more than today, where electric vehicles are more and more numerous, and where not coming across a plugged-in vehicle in a parking lot is more of an exception than the norm.
At the time, there wasn’t much choice for an affordable vehicle, since the only available references that could suit us were the Tesla Model S and the Tesla Model about), the Nissan Leaf first of the name, the Hyundai Ioniq and the Renault Zoe.
We weren’t necessarily looking for a vehicle to make long journeys, since we traveled a lot by TGV. No problem therefore to acquire an electric car with a limited range, which does not charge very quickly. After a few tests, we ordered a Renault Zoe ZE40, and the electric adventure began.
Being lucky enough to be able to charge at my workplace, I had no particular concerns regarding autonomy. I was aware that a Renault Zoe with a 40 kWh battery could offer around 250 kilometers of range in real conditions before needing to be recharged. As you can imagine, at the time even more than today, everyone’s questions almost always concerned charging and battery life.
We kept the Zoe for just one year, a year during which we did not have to pay for the battery rental, since Renault had carried out a promotional operation with 12 months of free battery rental (if that was not the case). case, it was billed 69 euros per month for 7,500 km per year). Proof that times have changed, full purchase – or LOA / LLD – is today the rule, and there is no longer really battery rental on Zoe.
This year in electric has shown us two things: the first is thatit is very simple to manage everyday life in an electric car as soon as you have access to a charging station or an electrical outlet. The second arises from the pleasant side of electric mobility: we wanted a car that offers us more freedom for long journeys.
At the beginning of 2018, we reserved a Tesla Model 3, with the manufacturer’s stated objective of delivering it the following year. This is how we were going to reach a milestone, becoming one of the first buyers of the electric sedan in Europe.
From 2019 to 2022 in Tesla Model 3: electric freedom
Moving from a Renault Zoé to a Tesla Model 3 takes us into a new dimension, one that promises total freedom of travel. Finally, if this sentence is true in 2023, during our delivery at the beginning of 2019, it was to be compared with the availability of fast charging stations and the density with which they were located in France and Europe. .
I have already spoken in detail about my experience with the Tesla Model 3 during the first two years, and the next two followed the same trend. In total, we traveled almost 135,000 kilometers across Europe in three and a half years, with many countries visited. During these years, we have seen considerable improvements in the availability of terminals, but also and above all an explosion in the number of charging stations offered.
For example, if in 2019 it was almost unthinkable to use anything other than a Tesla Supercharger (notably for reasons of reliability of charging points), today it is much easier to be agnostic regarding screws of the chargers. During our road trips frequent, we use Ionity, Fastned, Totalenergies and others indifferently rather than Tesla: it is the location of the charger which dictates our stop. On the highway in 2023, a Tesla Supercharger is still more of an exception than the rule, unlike other networks which are frequently installed in service areas.
Being a front row spectator of this evolution of fast charging networks, we noticed that if in 2019, a large battery was necessary, in 2023 it is easy to carve out the road with a smaller battery. This is one of the reasons that pushed our Model 3 Long Range towards the exit after a few years of good and loyal service: a vehicle that is more practical on a daily basis and with a smaller battery will be enough for us.
We therefore switched to the Tesla Model Y Propulsion, with which we have already covered nearly 25,000 kilometers since the start of 2023. The observation is clear as far as we are concerned, its smaller battery is absolutely not a handicap for traveling in 2023. We could even go so far as to say that driving electric is today something commonplace, which hardly requires any preparation or special knowledge.
Driving electric in 2023 becomes common
You will have understood, between the multiplication of electric car offers – today there is something for all tastes and all budgets – and the meteoric increase in recharging offers, it is easy to drive electric in 2023 .
Of course, it is important to understand certain principles so as not to have any disappointments when switching to a connected vehicle, and we have a guide for beginners available here.
With many cars offering a WLTP range of over 400 kilometers, electric travel is relatively simple, provided you have fast charging which really is. Some cars are built for long journeys, while others are unfortunately too slow to compete.
On our side, even with the Tesla with the least autonomy in the catalog and the smallest battery, we never prohibit ourselves from certain journeys. The combination of controlled consumption, correct autonomy, sufficient charging speed and the density of fast chargers ensures that we can cross Europe without incident. And for daily journeys, any electric will do as long as you have a charging point at home or at work.
Is electric made for everyone in 2023?
However, unfortunately electric is not made for everyone at the moment. There are profiles who are not ready to take the plunge, either because there remain real constraints, or because of a lack of desire for an electric vehicle.
It must be admitted that for those who are used to traveling 500 or 800 kilometers of highway without stopping, electric is not ready to suit them, even if recharging in 10 minutes is coming from 2024 on electric cars For my part, I have never driven a thermal vehicle, so I do not have this habit, however I understand that some people operate in this way.
What’s more, the state of the network of public charging stations (fast or not) is still not acceptable. There are still many terminals which are frequently out of service, which does not at all work in favor of an electric car.
If we add to this the veritable jungle of recharge cards that you sometimes have to have in your bag, and the misinformation that still exists on the part of certain media, it is logical that a significant part of the population does not is not found in current electric car offers.
However, we note that the overwhelming majority of people who dare to set foot in electric mobility are fully satisfied with it. What is often missing is a test drive to verify that an electric car suits your lifestyle. So don’t hesitate to go for one-off rentals, for example, which are not binding but allow you to experience one that could undoubtedly become the first vehicle in the household.