Tesco’s Set To Install 2,400 Electric Vehicle Chargers At Its Stores

Tesco is working with Volkswagen and Pod Point to launch what it claims will be the country’s largest Retail-based charging network for electric vehicles (EVs). It plans to install 2,400 chargers across 600 of its locations over the next three years; this will represent a 14% increase of the nation’s total. 

The supermarket giant’s customers will have a choice of charging their vehicles for free via a 7kW fast charger or via a 50kW charger for a fee based on the market rate. Its decision is motivated by its desire to provide communities with a viable alternative to fossil fuels and to progress with its commitment towards 100% renewable sources of energy; a pledge made back in early 2017. The CEO of Tesco UK & IR, Jason Tarry, said, “as the UK’s biggest fuel retailer, we have a role to play in supporting the transition to a low carbon future and improving air quality. He added, “we know our customers are increasingly moving towards electric vehicles, offering charging while they shop is another little help to make their lives easier.” Pod Point, a leading provider of charging infrastructure is excited by the partnership. Its CEO, Erik Fairbairn, described the project as a “monumental day for electric vehicle drivers.”He continued, “it is a massive leap forward for the UK and a significant step in our mission to put a Pod Point everywhere you park.”

Volkswagen’s involvement also makes sense in light of its ambitious plan to sell a million electric cars by 2025. It intends to produce EVs using its ‘MEB platform’ which it claims will allow it to produce EVs of various classes and sizes. As it stands, the automotive leviathan only has two electric models on the market, the e-Golf and the e-UP. It’s sold around 1,350 of the cars over the past four years; remarkably low numbers by anyone’s estimates. However, by 2020 it wants an electric version of all of its models; demonstrating its commitment to the new, environmentally friendly vehicles.

The RAC is delighted with the announcement, with spokesman Rod Dennis stating “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.” Dennis believes Tesco’s initiative will significantly reduce range anxiety, claiming that “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.”

Whilst a 14% increase in overall public charging points may sound impressive, it still leaves the total at around 20,000. For perspective, some analysts have suggested that around three million will be needed for a full transition away from petrols and diesels. That said, increasing visibility is a sure way to effectively normalise the technology. After all, how often do people go shopping for groceries? More importantly, it’s unlikely that most Britons are ever too far away from a Tesco. If the move inspires other supermarkets to do the same, perhaps mass-utilisation of EVs isn’t just a question for the day after tomorrow…

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