How to recharge your electric or hybrid car for free?

Among the many advantages of electric cars, the cost in use is probably the most important. To charge the batteries of their electric or hybrid car, many users opt for home charging on a mains socket or with a Wallbox. Billing is based on household electricity consumption and offers attractive rates.

Outside the home, on the way to vacation for example, it is customary to use public terminals whose price, generally higher than recharging at home, remains mostly lower than a full tank of gas. But it is possible to pay even less by using free charging stations.

Identify free terminals

© Chargemap – Digital

The first step is to identify free charging stations when planning. To do this, all you need is an application like Chargemap, which lists the charging stations in the area.

In the upper right corner, select the Filters button, then scroll to the bottom to check the Free terminals only and Hide private terminals option. On the map, locate the terminals displayed nearby. The terminals allowing you to connect for free are much more numerous than you might think.

Chargemap’s community features allow you to check the operating status of charging stations or the type of outlets available.

Load in major retailer car parks

A Driveco charging station installed in a Leroy Merlin car park.

A Driveco charging station installed in a Leroy Merlin car park.

© Driveco

Larger retailers, such as supermarkets or shopping malls, often offer free parking for customers. Some go a bit further by offering a free top-up service. To benefit from it, it is possible that a loyalty card is requested or that the charge is limited in time in order to avoid abuse. Still, to regain a few electrons for free when shopping, you can’t refuse.

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In France, many supermarkets and hypermarkets offer this service.

  • Carrefour and Super U, mainly equipped with Type 2 and 3c sockets for power ranging from 3 to 22 kW
  • Leclerc, Intermarché and Leroy Merlin, with mainly Type 2 22 kW terminals
  • Auchan and Ikea, which operate Type 2 and Chademo sockets for respective powers of 43 and 50 kW

It is also common to find free charging points in cinema or shopping center car parks.

Load at your dealership

Not surprisingly, several dealerships can offer charging stations to their customers. It is thus possible to find something to connect to in the parking lot of your dealer, in particular Renault, BMW, Nissan or Mercedes. For its part, the VAG group (Volkswagen, Audi, Cupra, Seat) offers charging at group dealers to all owners of a car from one of these brands. On the other hand, it is a measure at the initiative of the dealer and not of the manufacturer. Thus, certain concessions of the same brand may or may not offer a socket for customers.

For its part, Kia offers 12 months of subscription to Ionity and Kia Charge Plus, allowing charging at very advantageous rates, for any purchaser of an EV6 or a Niro EV.

In the public car parks of his city

Committed to more virtuous mobility, some municipalities are setting up charging stations accessible free of charge. These are usually found in public car parks, but you can find them on the street in on-street parking spaces. Some municipalities condition the charge on payment of the parking fee.

At the hotel or restaurant

When planning your departure on vacation, choose your hotel or restaurant carefully, as some may offer free terminals. It will thus be comfortable to leave his car in charge before resuming the road the next day or after the meal, without paying the slightest euro.

Owners of Tesla cars generally benefit from Tesla Destination Charging terminals free of charge, as do Porsche owners with Porsche Destination Charging terminals.

With his employer

Obviously, it is not a question of breaking into your boss’s house to plug in your car, but some companies make charging stations available to their employees. This is often the case for companies that opt ​​for an electric fleet of company vehicles. The installation of terminals in the company car park can also be part of the CSE’s negotiation points.

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