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Octopus Electric Juice works great in France & Normandy trip report

The main tip I wanted to share was that Octopus Juice has a partnership with Freshmile, which gives you access to many of the fast (22kw AC) and some supermarket low end rapid chargers (50kw). There is no need to buy a Freshmile RFID (which, unfortunately, I bought before realising octopus covers it - hence the PSA. Only €5...)
  • I didn't see an EV charger which I didn't have access to with the octopus electric juice card
  • Some also took contactless payment cards, but this was a small minority. For most you will need an RFID
  • Octopus Juice doesn't require prepayment, unlike freshmiles. (At least, for me as an electric customer)
  • The freshmiles app seems to have the best comments on recent use of the charger, but has no automatic translation. Google also seems to get an automatic feed for available ports, as does the octojuice app. There are some which feeds status to one app, but not others.
  • The fast chargers are generally cheap (10-16p/kwh (!)), although electric in France is considerably cheaper than the UK (State owned, large nuclear footprint for baseload) - typically €0.17/kwh
  • Interestingly, many of the charging sessions came through as free. While it was hard to work out exactly how much they charged, a number which clearly should have been chargeable came through either immediately or the next day as free. (Including 48kwh from a E.Leclerc 50kw rapid)
I didn't actually need any roadside rapid chargers - it's only Normandy, I have an M3LR, and the airbnb host was kind enough to allow us to connect (before asking for double the cost of the electric upon departure, my bad for not checking, at least it was convenient and still cheaper to supercharger). Some more general comments
  • UK Sticker - I bought a green UK sticker to go over the "Green flash" on the standard numberplate via ebay for a couple of quid. If they don't come off, worst case I've minorly damaged an easily replaceable part. I've seen too many UK stickers which leave marks after removal
  • Eurotunnel has a pair of free 50kw rapids on the UK side + chargeable superchargers - but as they tend to get you onto a train very quickly, there isn't much charge time available. If you use an automated check-in kiosk, it offers a selection of times. In person they just put you on the next one without asking. So so glad it was eurotunnel not the dover ferry...
  • Eurotunnel will consider an M3 as a "large" car, due to clearance. Just go with it I guess..
  • When going from the UK to France, the car will take care of most things itself, but you'll want to switch menu -> display -> units to metric
  • At the weekend, the fast charge network seems very busy, especially near destinations you might want to leave the car for an hour or two. Less of a problem on weekdays, but still, the infra felt stretched
  • Older machines might have type 3 connectors instead of type 2. Deciding that the standard everybody else agreed on isn't good enough because it doesn't have a cover, insisting on your own standard, deploying it, and then quietly adopting the standard while leaving laws in place which the standard doesn't meet is... possibly the most french thing I've ever heard. Anyway, new fast charge posts have 2 x type 2, middle age ones 1 x type 2, 1 x type 3, and old ones 2 x type 3. Generally type 3 is phasing out, so no sense in buying a converter for more than £100...
  • Most charge poles also do standard 3kw plugs as well as 22kw. Not a lot of use, except perhaps in an emergency
  • The charge points are a little weird in that they have little doors over the charge points which open when you present a valid RFID, presumably an alternative way of meeting the "Plugs must have covers" requirement
  • French parking... Oh French parking... Generally if there are other parking bays available, they will avoid ICEing. If it saves the driver walking an additional 20 meters, that charger is going to get ICEd. Seems more of a problem than the UK
  • EAP worked pretty well on the french motorway networks
  • 130kph chews through far more power than 120kph. ABRP seems to assume 120kph
  • The toughleads extension / modular converter limits you to 10a charging rate. If you get a proper EU plug for your UMC then you'll get 13a, but it'll cost you 50 quid, and is only good if the plug is close to your car
 

WannabeOwner

Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2015
6,933
3,686
Suffolk, UK
Good report, thanks. I've done EV to France a number of times and agree with your very useful list of pointers

In person they just put you on the next one without asking

I don't think that matters - once you are checked-in for Chunnel you can miss your train and you will just get shoved on the next one - so if you missed your train because you were charging for half an hour before boarding I reckon that would be OK.

(There are a couple of Supercharger stalls at Flexi lounge ("air-side" of passports) on the Calais-side when returning (as well as several stalls at the normal departure lounge, but that's before passports so a bit harder to judge leaving at just the right time to make the train)

ABRP seems to assume 120kph

Mine was spot on in France and I was definitely doing 130 KPH ... however, I have ABRP set for 110% speed (not that I normally achieve that on UK motorways ...) and I was driving at 130 KPH to avoid significant fuel consumption above that, so maybe ABRP assumes that all journeys will be 90% because of traffic / road works?

If you get a proper EU plug for your UMC then you'll get 13a, but it'll cost you 50 quid, and is only good if the plug is close to your car

I think there are other ways of doing that ... e.g. Schuko to Commando (extension lead or adapter [13AMP to Commando] ) then UMC will see that as a Commando, or a French / Continental extension lead (and the UMC Schuko adaptor)
 
Good report, thanks. I've done EV to France a number of times and agree with your very useful list of pointers

I don't think that matters - once you are checked-in for Chunnel you can miss your train and you will just get shoved on the next one - so if you missed your train because you were charging for half an hour before boarding I reckon that would be OK.

I have ABRP set for 110% speed

I think there are other ways of doing that ... e.g. Schuko to Commando (extension lead or adapter [13AMP to Commando] ) then UMC will see that as a Commando, or a French / Continental extension lead (and the UMC Schuko adaptor)
Glad it seems to match your experiences. Some useful comments there

Re Supercharging, I'd rather not miss the planned trains, but that's just my mindset. I'm about 30% charge away from folkestone, so it would only have ever been a "Well I'm here anyway" charge on the outbound leg.

ABRP has 1001 options,. my comment was that the defaults seem to under-report. Or at least, the values I get if I select "find efficency from tesla account" and then "default options" from there

And I'm looking at a commando converter, and will see what tough leads can come up with or I can adjust myself. Main question is, is the 1.5mm up to the job
 

WannabeOwner

Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2015
6,933
3,686
Suffolk, UK
I'd rather not miss the planned trains

yes, good point. If trains were running hourly then me neither! My home is a fair flog from Folkestone, and having previously "caught the train" and then charged at Maidstone, along with everyone else that came off the train! (and no facilities there at all), I have decided that it suits me better to leave France with enough charge to get to home, or at least a charger further than Maidstone. (I have a note of what percentage I need to get home, or another more suitable charger en route home.

is the 1.5mm up to the job

I took the viewpoint that when I use an extension lead it will be in addition to UMC, so should be sized for that overall length. Also, there might be times when I needed something quite long, so I went with a decent length and thickness cable. (Can't remember the exact details, but for example don't choose the longest lead that 1.5mm is suitable for :) if you need that length then move up to next diameter, or buy the shortest extension offered for "Next diameter up" - i.e. more length than you need, but under-spec for its actual length). Taking into account how much boot space it would need ... mine has sat there, very infrequently used, for years ...
 

Lord Farquad

2021 SR+ MIC LFP….Ordered MYLR W/B/20s/tow Jul/22
Aug 20, 2021
245
240
North West
For anyone with an Electric Juice account, there’s now a discount on Osprey chargers 1900-2300hrs (20%).

236032CB-E332-4D98-B738-7A9817120A28.jpeg
 
charged at Maidstone, along with everyone else that came off the train! (and no facilities there at all)

While Maidstone is definitely one of the least-good supercharging spots, there's been some development a five minute walk up the road, with a massive M&S to the east that has a cafe and toilets. The Chiltern Hundreds pub to the west does great food (normally have to book though), and is a couple of minutes' walk. There's also a wooded area behind the new housing that's quite nice for a brief walk in good weather.
 
Just wanted to add to this. Did a UK -> Germany trip two weeks ago! Had no issues using Electric Juice, except in Belgium & Luxembourgh where it didn't work at any chargers. These were under the Operators 'Chargy' and 'BlueCorner'.

Both of these brands were listed in the Electric Juice app, however the card refused to work at 4 different locations. However my backup Shell Recharge card did! I really recommend having a Shell Recharge one on hand as a backup as it covers almost all chargers!
 

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