Tesco and Volkswagen have announced plans to develop the largest UK retail electric vehicle charging network, powered by Pod Point. Customers will be able to charge their electric cars using a normal 7kW charger for free or a ‘rapid’ 50 kW charger for a small cost in line with market rate.
The two companies will roll out more than 2,400 EV charging bays across 600 Tesco stores within the next three years. The charging bays will be based in Tesco Extra and Superstore car parks and will be installed by Pod Point.
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. This builds on Tesco’s commitment to 100% renewable electricity made in May 2017.
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.”
Jesse Norman, the Minister for EVs at the Department for Transport, said: “The Government is committed to making the UK the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle. For that we need high quality infrastructure in place to support ultra-low emission vehicles around the country. The Government set out plans in its Road to Zero strategy to deliver a significant increase in this infrastructure and we welcome Tesco’s pledge to roll out over 2,400 new charge bays across their stores.”
Geraldine Ingham, head of marketing at Volkswagen UK, said: “This incredibly exciting partnership underlines the scale and ambition of our electric car programme in the UK. Working with these partners to provide such an extensive network of EV chargers should leave no one in any doubt about the Volkswagen brand’s wholehearted commitment to an electric future.”
Erik Fairbairn, CEO of Pod Point, said: “This agreement represents a 14% increase in the number of public charge bays in the UK and is a monumental day for electric vehicle drivers. It is a massive leap forward for the UK and a significant step in our mission to put a Pod Point everywhere you park.”
RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis 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.”