All about electric car driving in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
electric car charging station

Now that we are going on holiday again en masse, many are choosing not to go by plane. Therefore, the number of holidaymakers who go to Spain by car is gradually increasing. But is that possible with an electric car? Are there enough charging points in Spain? And where can you find it? 

Finding a charging point in Spain is not very easy. Even though major energy companies have announced that they will install thousands of charging points in the coming years, Spain currently only has 10,000 charging points. These are spread over approximately 3,000 locations. Look at the map via this link to find them. 

Spain is last in the amount of charging points 

In Europe, according to data from the employers’ associations of car manufacturers (Anfac) and dealers (Faconauto), Spain is the last in amount charging points for electric vehicles, with only 245 per million inhabitants. Of these, according to Motorpasion.com, 83% are slow chargers (less than 22 kW), which equates to an average charge time of three hours in most electric vehicles on the market today. 

Fast chargers 

If you are on the road and have a larger power requirement, there are about 500 fast chargers with a maximum charging speed of 50 kW or more. However, the disadvantage is that about 30% of all charging stations are set up as public charging points 

Loading especially easy along the coastline 

The network of regular charging points is concentrated along the coastlines, both on the east coast and along the north and west coasts as far as Portugal. The east coast has the most charging points. The charging network is relatively good, especially from Barcelona to Cartagena. However, after Cartagena, the areas thin quickly. In the interior, the charging points are mainly located in and around the capital Madrid. 

Along the rest of the larger main roads, Spain is reasonably passable via 50kW fast chargers. Keep in mind that there are pieces of 150-180 kilometers without charging options. This is the case, for example, on the route between Zaragoza and Madrid. In addition, many of those fast chargers only have one charging cable. The risk is that someone else is just charging his car or that the charger is defective. It is therefore advisable to always keep a large battery reserve on hand in Spain. 

Fast charging stations under construction 

For those who want to charge faster than 50 kW, the options in Spain are relatively limited. Tesla drivers can go to the Tesla Superchargers. Drivers of other electric cars can only go to the charging stations of provider Ionity. Providers such as Fastned and Allego are not yet represented in Spain. Energy company Repsol has 300 charging points in Spain but has also announced plans to install fast chargers every 30 kilometers along the main routes across the country. 

Ionity 

Ionity currently has 15 operational stations in Spain and five are under construction. They are mainly placed in areas without cover and spread out in such a way that they cover the whole country. The Ionity fast chargers have a maximum charging speed of 350 kW for so-called ‘hyper charging’. 

However, in Spain, it is difficult to drive from hypercharge to hypercharge. Sometimes there is a distance of up to 400 kilometers between two of these charging points. That is why you probably also need the less fast 50kW charging points on certain routes. And be careful, because deep in the interior you will no longer find these charging points. 

Without fast chargers, you are therefore at the mercy of regular charging via public charging points. This will also get you through Spain, but your journey will take considerably longer. Therefore, prepare your trip well and preferably travel from city to city. 

In transit to the cities of Portugal 

If you want to get to Madrid from France, take the route from Bordeaux via Vitoria-Gasteiz (below Bilbao) down via the AP-1 and A1 motorways. Most fast chargers are located along this route. 

Baycrest Wealth

The best route from France to Portugal is partly the same as the above route to Madrid: it starts on the AP-1 and continues from Borges to the A62 via Salamanca, eventually ending up in Guarda, Portugal. On the east coast of Spain, both Barcelona and Valencia are reasonably well equipped with fast chargers, just like the cities in the south Málaga, Córdoba, and Seville. In the north, Pamplona, ​​Bilbao, Oviedo, and Valladolid are well equipped with (fast) chargers. 

It is wise to always take your 230V charger with you to connect it to a regular socket in case of emergency. Plan space in your trip for extra waiting time. Charging via a socket takes much more time than via a public charging station. 

Cost 

The charging rates of the regular charging stations are low, often even free because the government wants to encourage electric driving. But if you do have to pay something, it often concerns a relatively low rate of €0.25 to €0.30 per kWh. For a full battery, it will cost between €15 and €18 euros if you buy a battery pack with a capacity of around 60kWh. 

Resources to plan your trip 

If you are going to the Spanish interior, ensure you start your journey fully loaded and plan your route via the EV route planner. It is also useful to know in advance whether you can load your car to your destination at your hotel or apartment complex. 

Findings of the Spanish consumer organisation driving electric through Spain 

The consumer organisation OCU has made a trip through Spain with an electric car and compared it with other trips in neighbouring countries. They noticed that a journey of almost 650 kilometres took 50 minutes longer. The reason for the delay was the extra time it takes to charge the vehicle. 

Despite the increase in the electricity price, the journey cost €19 less than in a petrol car. 

The biggest problem was seen as the necessary planning that is required before you start the journey because of the lack of charging stations. Unlike filling stations, charging stations are not always found every few kilometres. 

In addition, OCU also noted that the price fluctuation is large. In some stations, electricity is even more expensive than gasoline. So try to find out in advance whether the charging station is slow or fast and what type of charger it is. 

In short, the OCU identifies the problems that already existed last year and that are being solved too slowly. We do not know whether 2022 will be the year of the electric car, but it will be further implemented. 

Related post: Spain lags behind with electric cars

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