Everything you need to know about electric car consumption

Published by on 12.13.2019 - 5 min

Electric cars are a game changer when it comes to energy management for drivers. Their electricity consumption depends on various factors which can easily be anticipated in order to optimize charging time and vehicle usage.

What factors affect electric vehicle consumption?

Defined in terms of kilowatt hours per one hundred kilometers, consumption is crucial when calculating the range of a vehicle based on its use. Just as with traditional combustion engine vehicles, the driver’s behavior affects consumption in electric vehicles, which are significantly influenced by driving style: smoother driving reduces the amount of energy required to run an electric vehicle.

On the highway, as speed increases, so does consumption: increased friction and air resistance mean that the motor will have to use more watts to maintain speed. Lastly, consumption also depends on the climate: batteries naturally lose their charge more quickly in the winter, and heating also requires more energy than air conditioning in electric vehicles.

Energy consumption when charging using domestic sockets

Different charging methods

For safety reasons — with the exception of the Renault Twizy, which can be charged using a normal domestic socket — it is not recommended to charge electric vehicles at traditional outlets. For most models, it is recommended that you install a dedicated charging station. The most affordable option, the secure socket, is designed to prevent overloading and provide power that is adapted to both the vehicle and domestic electrical circuits.

More advanced, the Wallbox is a box that attaches to your wall and can provide different levels of intensity to the vehicle. Various models of this type offer power levels ranging from 3.7 kW to 22 kW. Lower wattage is useful for long charging sessions. Higher wattage is useful for shorter charging sessions (which is recommended, for example, if your electricity contract offers lower rates at limited times of the day).

The cost depends on the contract

To calculate the cost of a full charge, simply multiply your battery’s capacity in kilowatt hours (kWh) by the price you pay per kilowatt hour. In France, in 2019, when based on the average domestic rate of around 0.15 euros per kWh, this translates to a cost of less than 3 euros per 100 kilometers, and around 8 euros for a full recharge of a 52 kWh battery (like those used on the New ZOE.) Disparities in the price of electricity across Europe explain the significant differences in the cost of a full charge in different countries: just over 15 euros in Germany compared to 11 euros in Italy and 9 euros in the United Kingdom.

Consumption when charging electric vehicles at public charging stations

New ZOE charging station

Chargers designed for use at charging stations

In addition to the charging cables that hook up to your home electricity network, electric vehicles come with chargers designed for charging at public stations. The Renault ZOE, like the manufacturer’s other cars, has a Caméléon charger, unique in its ability to adapt to different charging stations, allowing the driver to make the best possible use of the available electrical network. At stations that use AC, the most common in public spaces, the ZOE is thus able to charge up to 22 kW, for an average range of 125 kilometers in 1 hour of charging.*

The New Renault ZOE also comes with a CCS plug, which enables the vehicle to charge 50 kW, which is translated into 150 km of range in 30 minutes*. This plug works with DC, primarily available at freeway charging stations.

Variable pricing

Depending on the electrical station network, the power available, and the location of the station, the price of charging can vary by up to twice as much. Without a subscription, 5 minutes of charging costs around 1.30 euro, but with a subscription, the price can drop to as low as 0.50 euro for the same amount of time. With a 50 kW rapid charger, it takes only 20 minutes to charge up to 100 kilometers on a New ZOE for a cost of 2 to 5 euros. This depends on the country, as the price of electricity varies: for example, in the Netherlands, the operator Fastned charges 0.59 euros per kilowatt hour without a subscription, for a recharge of 30 kWh for 17.70 euros. In England, the Polar Instant network charges 12 pounds sterling (13.20 euros) per hour for rapid recharging at a 50 kW charging station. In general, subscriptions apply to a network of European charging stations, offering the subscriber reduced rates at thousands of stations.

Consumption when charging electric vehicles in Europe: disparities between different countries

In Europe, public charging stations adhere to European standards, especially on the freeway. Various companies offering charging subscriptions have stations all over Europe. One of the main differences between different European countries is the billing method for public charging: in France, stations display a price based on charging time, whereas neighboring countries display a price for a “fill-up” based on the number of kilowatt hours charged. As the cost of electricity varies from one country to the next, the cost of keeping your electric vehicle charged also varies depending on what European country you are in.

How much does a Renault ZOE consume?

For a given model, the consumption of a particular vehicle depends on the capacity of the battery. The New Renault ZOE has a Z.E. 50 battery with a capacity of 52 kW, enabling the driver to travel 100 kilometers for a cost of approximately 8 euros in France or approximately 10-12 euros in Germany, after charging at a 50 kW station. The price also depends on how the charging is billed.

It is also worth mentioning, of course, that good driving habits, notably eco-driving, can help optimize your consumption and thus make immediate savings.


* The durations and distances mentioned here are calculated based on results obtained by the New ZOE during the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure) standardized cycle: (57% urban driving, 25% suburban driving, 18% highway driving,) which aims to represent the actual conditions of a vehicle’s use. However, they cannot foresee the type of journey after recharging. The charging time and recovered range also depend on the temperature, battery wear, charging station wattage, driving style, and level of charge.

Copyrights : OHM Frithjof, Renault Marketing 3D-Commerce