Supermarket EV charge points DOUBLE in two years

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Electric car owners can charge for FREE at Tesco

The number of electric vehicle charge points at supermarkets has doubled in the last two years.

An impressive 6.5 percent of all UK public charge points are now located at supermarkets.

This is according to data released by Zap-Map and the RAC.

The figures show there were 1,115 supermarket charging points at the end of December 2019. That’s more than double the number at the end of October 2017 (542 charge points).

In total, there are 608 UK supermarkets with charging facilities – around five percent of all supermarkets.

Charging at a supermarket makes sense. Customers spend 45 minutes in store, which is enough time to top up an electric car, especially using a rapid charger.

Supermarket charging table

Supermarket Charging points (Dec 2019)
1. Tesco 281
2. Asda 228
3. Morrisons 143
4. Co-op 88
5. Lidl 76
6. Aldi 72
7. Sainsbury’s 27

This table shows only half the story, because while Tesco has added 258 charging points since October 2017, Asda has installed just eight. This puts Asda on the back foot, especially considering Morrisons has added 83, Co-op 68, Lidl 48 and Aldi 40.

As for rapid charging points, Morrisons has 84, which accounts for 59 percent of its total number. Conversely, Asda and Tesco have just one and two rapid chargers respectively.

‘Graze energy while doing an everyday task’

Melanie Shufflebotham, co-founder of Zap-Map, said: “It is very encouraging to see supermarkets increasingly embracing electric vehicle charging at their stores with a dramatic shift in the number of chargers being installed over the course of the last two years.

“Our research shows that while the majority of charging is done at home, most EV drivers use the public network more than once a month. While a robust rapid infrastructure across the country is essential for longer journeys, having charge points in supermarkets provides EV drivers an excellent way to ‘graze‘ energy while doing an everyday task.

“With 89 percent of EV drivers taking the availability of charge points into account when selecting their parking, providing charging can be a real differentiator locally in the competitive supermarket sector. This seems to be recognised by some supermarkets, notably Tesco and Sainsbury’s, providing EV charging for free.”

Supermarkets dominate fuel retailing 

Volkswagen ID.3 at Tesco

RAC spokesman Simon Williams added: “It is extremely positive to see the supermarkets making it easy for drivers to go electric. Having more chargers that are readily available will help to speed up the transition from petrol and diesel cars to electric ones.

“We have always said that it makes sense for people to be able to charge at supermarkets because anyone doing a full shop will inevitably spend 45 minutes in store. The UK’s big four supermarkets currently dominate fuel retailing, so it will be very interesting to see if a similar battle will develop in EV charging.

“At the moment the emphasis seems to be very much on installing any form of charge point. It is our belief that as the EV market matures there will be less need for slower chargers and a greater need for higher-power ones.

“The introduction of more rapid chargers at supermarkets may even stimulate take-up now as it would make EVs viable for those who cannot charge at home because of where they live. 

“Very positively, new car sales figures reveal that three times as many BEVs were registered in January 2020 as were in January 2019.”

A ban on the sales of new petrol and diesel cars could be brought forward to 2035. The government has launched a consultation on the plans, which will remain open until the end of May 2020.

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