An orthopaedic surgeon of almost 30 years, Dr. Alexandre Worcel dreams of a world where everyone drives electric. A fan and pioneering adopter of the ZOE, he knows how to win people over with his arguments, even some of his patients.
The white one is hers, the blue one is his. For the past year, the Worcels have done 100% of their driving in ZOEs. It’s a fact they’re proud of! “I was used to big engines and brands supposedly known for their reliability, but I’d had enough of breakdowns and the accompanying bills. More generally, I really want to be able to breathe easily in the city. Getting stuck in a traffic jam surrounded by running engines is unbearable.”
Alexandre Worcel bought his first ZOE in 2013. “I had been interested in electric vehicles for years. At that time there was only a single other model available. The ZOE line appealed to me in particular, as did the comfort and spaciousness of the vehicles: you can even fit two bikes inside. As for my wife, she was a little sceptical at first. But when she saw all the benefits of using one, she wanted to immediately replace our 2nd combustion engine vehicle with a 2nd ZOE!”
The couple ultimately opted to wait for the next generation of Z.E. 40 batteries before investing, in April 2018, in a second ZOE with an R110 engine. “The increase in range is the real deal: the 2013 version of ZOE is a very good city car. The 2018 version: a traveller, an excellent touring car. It’s responsive, has a lot of torque from the get-go, good acceleration for overtaking: it takes off at full speed, but without making a sound! Driving one is a real pleasure, and it’s excellent quality for the price.”
Dr. Worcel and his wife aren’t stingy with their driving: their two ZOEs have already accumulated 130,000 Km on the odometer. “I practise at three different sites and drive up to 100 Km for work each day. I never recharge at home, always at the clinic… which means it’s free! Twice a week is enough.
My wife, who drives from Montmorency to Neuilly daily, plugs her ZOE into the wallbox installed outside our house every night.”
The couple also goes to Paris several times a week, to relax or visit their daughters. “When you live in the suburbs, an electric vehicle is perfect for taking advantage of the capital.
Parking is free for up to 7 hours and, for a modest fee, you can have access to the parking spaces of the former car sharing service Autolib’ and charge for free. Parking its ZOE in front of the Opera without needing to look for a spot – now that’s convenience!”
Alexandre Worcel estimates that he spends about €200 a year on electricity to charge his two ZOEs while saving about €5,000 on parking.
Mr. and Mrs. Worcel don’t hesitate to travel either. It’s the perfect opportunity to see how France is covered with charge points. “Last summer, we covered more than 3,000 Km using three subscription cards to access publicly available charging stations, spending €15 on electricity. Step 1: from Paris to Le Puy-en-Velay via Bourges. After arriving at our friends’ house, we took many drives: at night, we plugged the ZOE into a simple single-phase grounded socket. Step 2: The suburbs of Le Puy-en-Velay to Bordeaux on a single charge, or over 400 Km. We recharged in a supermarket car park to be able to make the last 80 kilometers to Arcachon. Once there, no problem: every village has its own charging station. In the future, we plan to go even further into Europe.”
Dr. Worcel’s ZOE is also a source of astonishment, or even curiosity. “Some patients tell me that usually, you see doctors driving bigger cars! So I explain my choice. I’ve already convinced thirty-odd people to switch to electric.” To win them over, this ecologist-at-heart nonetheless starts with economic reasoning.
“When I say that my ZOE costs me €120 per month, including battery rental, while covering 2,000 to 3,000 Km, that I haven’t had any breakdowns in 100,000 Km and that my maintenance bills never top €50 thanks to electric technology, I score a big point. When I add that with the Chameleon charger, I can charge in an hour at any station with a type 2 connector, the standard in most villages, I score another!”
Dr. Worcel also knows how to address the most reluctant. “I think that people feel guilty about burning diesel or petrol. So they often bring up the issue of battery recycling.
But today, batteries can be given a second life and, at the very end of their existence, the majority of its rare metals are recovered. It’s essential that we develop stationary energy battery storage systems, using batteries that can no longer provide enough range for vehicle use. Their second life acts as a useful buffer between the fluctuating demand for electricity and the supply of intermittent renewable energy.“
Copyrights: Vincent Colin
Cities & planning