Safe Charging Values for Your Electric Car This Summer

Charging electric cars outside the home is still fraught with pitfalls. What are the most reliable charging networks according to users? A Chargemap ranking answers this question.

The summer holiday period is an opportunity to look at fast charging networks for electric vehicles. If the number of terminals no longer really poses a problem for traveling in France, the reliability of the terminals is still quite uneven depending on the charging operators.


Fastned, Tesla and Electra are in the lead in France

One thing is certain, it is not the most expensive charging networks that offer better reliability of their installations. Quite often it is even the opposite. To have a clearer vision, here is the top 10 established by Chargemap for France for the first half of 2024:

  • Fastned
  • You're here
  • Electra
  • Crossroads
  • E-Vadea
  • TotalEnergies
  • Ionity
  • Engie Vianeo
  • Carrefour Market
  • Electric 55 Charging
Recharging on the Fastned network // Source: Raphaelle Baut for Numerama
Recharge on the Fastned network. // Source: Raphaelle Baut for Numerama

Fastned is, according to Chargemap users, the most reliable network. It is less widespread than other players with only around forty stations in France, mainly on motorways. The fact remains that the charging experience generally goes well and the stations are well designed, including a roof to protect the charging station. This does not count towards the reliability score, but perhaps contributes a little by not exposing the terminals unnecessarily to bad weather.

Tesla superchargers come in second place in France in terminal ratings. It is quite rare to encounter a broken Tesla terminal. And, in this situation, Tesla stations have enough terminals to be able to charge without problem, even when the station is busy. This is an experience that we had again recently, during a test of the Honda e:ny1. With the opening of supercharger stations to other brands, we could fear reliability problems, but this is apparently not the case.

Tesla supercharger open to all // Source: Raphaelle Baut for NumeramaTesla supercharger open to all // Source: Raphaelle Baut for Numerama
Tesla supercharger open to all. // Source: Raphaelle Baut for Numerama

Finally, Electra is the network that is growing in France. The stations are generally located in hotel and supermarket parking lots. Their location is often close to major roads, so as not to waste motorists' time. This is a very useful alternative when the driver does not want to use the highways. In our experience, problems are rare on this network.


Disappointing results for powerful players: Ionity, TotalEnergies, Engie Vianeo

Finally, in this ranking, the most surprising thing is to note that charging networks with significant support do not always do as well as we imagine.

Ionity, a consortium of numerous automobile manufacturers, only ranks 7th. However, when it was created, it was the network that was to compete with that of Tesla. Outside of subscription, it has long been a fairly expensive charging network. It was at €0.69/kWh and is now at €0.59/kWh, like Fastned. Subscriptions (quickly profitable) can lower the bill. Beyond the cost of recharging, it is almost systematic to have at least one out-of-service terminal per station. Some stations still only have 4 charging points, which quickly poses a problem.

Terminal reliability problem at TotalEnergie // Source: Raphaelle Baut for NumeramaTerminal reliability problem at TotalEnergie // Source: Raphaelle Baut for Numerama
Terminal reliability problem at TotalEnergie. // Source: Raphaelle Baut for Numerama

TotalEnergies does not do much better with its 6th place, and for good reason, reliability is also quite uncertain depending on the types of terminals installed in the stations. We have encountered faulty terminals all too regularly. They have often been broken down for a long time, and the operator has difficulty getting them repaired. A disappointing result for a company which has the means to do much better and especially at slightly lower prices.

Engie Vianeo ranks 8th in the reliability ranking. Here again, a major energy player should be able to do much better. The stations we used are pleasant with a canopy to protect us from bad weather, a large totem with prices and easy-to-use terminals. However, they have variable pricing, which may disappoint customers used to fixed prices. Until last week, we had not had a problem with faulty terminals; unfortunately, everything has to start.

Engie Vianeo charging station // Source: Raphaelle Baut for NumeramaEngie Vianeo charging station // Source: Raphaelle Baut for Numerama
Engie Vianeo charging station. // Source: Raphaelle Baut for Numerama

A fairly similar European ranking

User ratings for these networks also extend across Europe. Chargemap has therefore also published its European top 10:

  • Electra
  • You're here
  • Fastned
  • Chargy
  • Crossroads
  • E-vadea
  • Ionity
  • Atlante
  • Carrefour market
  • Energyvision
Recharging on the Electra network // Source: Raphaelle Baut for NumeramaRecharging on the Electra network // Source: Raphaelle Baut for Numerama
Recharge on the Electra network. // Source: Raphaelle Baut for Numerama

The two rankings open with the same charging operators, but in a different order – proof that they clearly dominate the competition.

An electric car enthusiast, Denis Schoelens, ensures monthly monitoring of new fast charging stations in France. Her charging station map is interesting to consult.