Tesco plans to install free charging points for electric cars


Tesco recently announced that it would be providing electric charging points for its customers, free of charge. The UK grocery giant is partnering with German car manufacturing giant Volkswagen in the venture. The partnership has vowed to provide free electric charging at 600 stores by 2020. The aim is to provide up to 2,500 charging points and for availability to come as soon as the start of 2019. The charger will be a standard 7kw model, with a faster service being offered for a premium to shoppers who would like a more substantial charge.

Charge while you shop

The appeal of this plan appears to stem from the ability for shoppers to charge while they shop and the rising sales of electric and hybrid cars in the UK. Although a full charge is dependent on the vehicle, there will still be plenty of time to get a substantial charge in the time you complete your shopping, all for free mind you. This partnership also coincides with Volkswagen’s aims of providing an electric version of all of their models currently on the market by 2020.

This move into the car charging business by the two companies is no surprise. The other three big supermarkets have also provided charging points for their shoppers, albeit on a much smaller scale than what is planned by Tesco and VW. Alongside these companies, BP has announced that it will be buying Chargemaster, the UK’s largest charging network. While Shell had purchased NewMotion, which operates in the Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and France.

Electric car market rising

The current electric car market sales are up by 0.6% to 12,526 electric cars sold compared to last year, according to data from the SMMT. The hybrid car market has seen a dramatic upsurge compared to last year, with a 30% increase in sales, demonstrating an acceptance and even a slow move to more environmentally friendly vehicles. This makes the recent moves of traditional fuel suppliers and other sectors to electric car charging a more understandable trend.

There have been several positive reactions from other companies regarding this move.   RAC spokesman 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.” With Mike Orford of VW UK saying “People may be put off if they live in a flat, but more publicly available points might make an electric car more viable for those who can’t charge at home ” Jesse Norman, Transport Minister, said the government welcomed the pledge from Tesco’s to provide the 2,000+ charging points across their stores.

EU emission rules come into effect in 2021

Due to the EU emissions rules coming into effect in 2021 there will be a lot more of this type of thing occurring, alongside a much larger electric car market with manufacturer’s planning several  new models before then. Installing charging points in supermarkets is one step in expanding the electric car charging network, however there will need to be a lot more work done to make the UK infrastructure robust enough to handle large scale electric car use.