Renault announced that its 372 dealerships in the French distribution network will start offering users of electric vehicles a free 1-hour charge per day.
Renault dealers are equipped with 22 kW 3-phase charging points, so users can get as much as 22 kWh if the vehicle was capable of fully utilizing this power.
"The 875 fast-charge stations located in parking lots of 372 Renault dealerships offer EV users an alternative solution to using private stations at home or at work and are helping to develop the public charging infrastructure."
For the Renault Zoe, capable of even a 43 kW charge, 22 kW will enable it to recharge its batteries to 80% capacity in 1 hour. Other Renault models, that have only slow AC charging option, will not benefit nearly as much. And yes, Renault offers this free-charging service to non-Renault EVs.
Typically, nobody uses a 1-hour 22-kW recharge twice a day, so for Renault Zoe owners this free charging setup seems like a substitute to the Tesla Motors Supercharging network (with respect to all differences, of course).
"All of the dealerships taking part in the operation and their geographical locations can be found directly on http://www.renault.fr/ and on the community site http://www.chargemap.fr/. The locations of the terminals have also been sent to operators such as Tom Tom, which will use them to create points of interest in the R-Link and Carminat navsat systems, and to the GIREVE for inclusion in the nationwide reference system."
The drawback of this project is that "the possibility of using fast-charge terminals during the dealerships’ opening hours" indicates that there might be a problem using the stations outside of hours of operation Secondly, free charging is offered to all EVs, provided that the driver of the EV has "a cable that fits type 3 connectors for electric vehicles." This type 3 outlet seems to be an additional problem in compatibility that makes the situation more difficult in France.
Renault is providing more information on this new service at its dealerships, "which will activate the charging station for the EV user".
"This initiative puts Renault and its network in the forefront of electric mobility in France, where the installation of charging points for the general public is one of the major factors contributing to the deployment of electric vehicles. Charging stations help to reassure users and increase the scope for the use of electric vehicles."