The world’s biggest vehicle manufacturer and the UK’s largest fuel retailer have committed to installing almost 2,500 charging bays across 600 Tesco stores over the next three years.
It is the biggest boost to EV infrastructure in Britain, which currently has approximately 19,000 connection points including just over 300 in Wales.
Customers with any electric or PHEV model except a Tesla will be able to charge their cars using a standard 7kW fast charger for free, or use the rapid 50kW charger at the market rate and pay through the Pod Point app at about £6 for approximately 30mins.
The announcement follows a growing demand for more public charging points – with sales of electric and part-electric vehicles up by more than 20 per cent in the UK this year.
Charging bays will be based in prominent designated spaces at Tesco Extra and Superstore car parks throughout the United Kingdom, and will be installed by the largest independent public charging network operator, Pod Point.
When all the new units are fully operational, tens of thousands of motorists will be able to charge, or part re-charge, their electric vehicles each day while carrying out their shop at the supermarket. Tesco wants to offer customers and local communities an alternative to fossil fuels, and also play its part in supporting the transition to a low-carbon, clean air UK.
Jason Tarry, Tesco CEO UK & ROI, said, “This is part of our wider commitment to addressing the environmental challenges that matter most to our customers, colleagues and communities.
“We want to be the leading electric vehicle energy provider and to support our customers with more sustainable solutions.
“Our EV network provides a sustainable choice for our customers and charging while they shop is another little help to make their lives easier.”
The initiative builds on the supermarket’s commitment to 100 per cent renewable electricity made in May 2017.
The roll-out was welcomed by the RAC and spokesperson Rod Dennis who said, “For more than a year we have been calling for charging infrastructure in places where drivers are likely to spend extended periods of time, such as supermarkets and public car parks, so we applaud all the parties involved in agreeing this deal.
“It is excellent news for current drivers of electric vehicles, and may even be enough to tempt some of those thinking of switching to one. Crucially, it will go some way towards reducing so-called ‘range anxiety’, where drivers are concerned they will run out of charge before completing a journey.
“The fact that a choice of charging speeds will be offered at Tesco sites will also likely suit the needs of a lot of electric and plug-in hybrid car drivers – it will mean they can receive a welcome boost of electric charge for minimum fuss while they do their regular shop, with some benefiting from completely free charging.
“Strong and easy-to-use charging infrastructure, alongside the development of battery technology and lower upfront costs, is vital in accelerating the take-up of electric vehicles.
“The sight of a line of cars charging in a supermarket is about to become much more common, and will be a clear signal that the dawn of electric vehicles, and with all the air quality benefits that they bring, really is arriving.”