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Tesco leads supermarket EV charger roll-out

Grocery giant is showing the way in installing electric vehicle (EV) charging points at its supermarkets

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Grocery giant Tesco is showing the way in installing electric vehicle (EV) charging points at its supermarkets, according to new data released this week.

The study by EV mapping service Zap-Map and the RAC shows that almost 1,000 new EV charging points have been installed in supermarket car parks since January 2020, boosting the total available at these outlets from 1,112 to 2,059.

Of all the UK’s 26,000 publicly accessible EV charging points, 8% are now sited at supermarkets – 1,300 locations in total, compared to 607 at the start of last year.

Tesco appears to be leading the charge to electric – it has installed 641 chargers over the last 23 months, boosting the total available at its stores to 922 – some 678 more than its nearest rival Asda, which has a total of 246 charging points.

However, while 514 Tesco outlets now offer EV charging – 372 more than in January 2020 – this is still only 13% of the brand’s 4,008 stores throughout the UK.

Leading the way in percentage terms is Morrisons – having added chargers to another 112 of its 497 stores since January 2020, it can now offer such facilities at 40% of its network. Rival Lidl has installed EV chargers at 141 locations, taking its total to 203, a quarter of its store network.

Morrisons also leads the way with rapid chargers – it now has 197, compared to 150 at Lidl stores and just 64 at Tesco outlets. Plugged into a rapid charger most EV batteries will be replenished to around 80% capacity in less than 45 minutes, around the time many people take to complete their weekly supermarket shop.

According to the data Tesco, Morrisons and Lidl are the only supermarket retailers who have so far made significant investment in chargers – other brands including Waitrose, Aldi and even Sainsbury’s, the second-biggest retailer on the UK market with more than 1,400 stores, are showing little interest in attracting EV drivers.

Reacting to the findings, RAC director of EVs Sarah Winward-Kotecha emphasised the importance of charging facilities being available at supermarkets which most consumers use at least weekly.

“While the majority of drivers going electric will be fortunate enough to be able to charge easily on their driveways at home, for the remainder it won’t be so easy so having access to free, or affordable, charging facilities at supermarkets is very important, and could even help accelerate EV take-up in the first place,” Winward-Kotecha said.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.