Fleet News

EV drivers can charge for free at Tesco

Electric car plugged into a charge point outside Tesco

Electric vehicle (EV) drivers at 100 Tesco stores across the UK are now able to top up their battery for free while shopping.  

Volkswagen announced last year it had partnered with Tesco and Pod Point to install around 2,400 charging points for electric cars. 

To highlight the scheme, Volkswagen visited the Potters Bar store in Hertfordshire with its all-electric ID.3 – the first time the model has been in the UK since its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

The appearance of the new car – which arrives at UK dealerships in the summer – coincided with research by Volkswagen which revealed the average Brit spends 50 minutes per week in a supermarket buying food and drink. 

Electric car owners who plug in their vehicles could get around 22.5 miles of free charging from the 7kW points during that 50-minute period.

The partnership and the new ID.3, which has a range of up to 340 miles between charges, is part of Volkswagen’s drive to boost e-mobility and make electric cars more affordable for millions of people.

Its production is entirely carbon-neutral, while all electricity used to charge cars at Tesco comes from renewable sources. 

Geraldine Ingham, head of marketing at Volkswagen UK, said: “Volkswagen literally means the people’s car, and with the ID.3 we are making electric car ownership more accessible.

“This fantastic partnership with Tesco and Pod Point makes choosing an electric car even more attractive, allowing people to charge for free, all while going about their daily business. 

“And the best bit is that this is not just for Volkswagens – the chargers are designed for any electric car owner to take advantage of. We are really pleased to help break down any remaining barriers to opting for an electric car.”

Jason Tarry, Tesco CEO UK & ROI, added: “We’re now well on our way to achieving our ambition of installing more than 2,400 EV charging bays across 600 Tesco stores. 

“Providing customers with charging points offers them a sustainable choice and giving them the opportunity to charge their car for free while they shop is another little help to make their lives easier.”

Data from Pod Point has revealed the charging points were used more than 12,000 times in November, powering customers’ vehicles with almost 60,000 kWh of energy. 

Erik Fairbairn, founder and CEO, Pod Point, said: "With the rollout now underway, we are witnessing a pivotal moment for the UK’s rapidly expanding public charging network. 

“Providing smart, easy-to-use charge points at this scale is likely to accelerate the transition to electric cars up and down the country. Being able to top up while you shop at so many locations makes it more convenient to go electric than ever before." 

Six in 10 adults say they are more likely to buy an electric car if they can charge for free, while 68% reckon companies in the UK should be doing more to encourage motorists to make the switch to electric cars, a Volkswagen survey found.

It also highlighted the importance of public charging points - with 43% of respondents saying they would rely on them to top their battery up rather than having somewhere to charge at home.

Volkswagen has now created a calculator which lets shoppers know how many free miles per year they could get from charging their electric car at Tesco. 

Click here for electric cars and hybrids best practice and procurement insight

Login to comment


  • David Dunn - 04/12/2019 09:23

    This scheme should help with getting people to switch over to electric vehicles, its also great PR for Tesco. I just wonder how long it will take to filter to other similar companies and how long it will take to become a benefit of reward schemes. In this example have a clubcard plus account and its free if you don't have clubcard then you pay to use.

  • The Engineer - 06/12/2019 09:46

    It is a welcome move, but it saddens me to see 7kW chargers being deployed still, they need to die a death. A place the size of Tesco will have more than enough spare capacity to run at least a couple of 50kW rapid chargers. Perhaps linked to the sales system so initially you initiate with a contactless credit card but if you then use the same card to pay for some shopping in store within 2 hours the charge is free/discount, otherwise your card is charged the market rate. That system would almost certainly modify my shopping pattern/loyalty.

  • Don Hambleton - 01/02/2020 13:06

    New EV sales have soared by 125% in the UK and the roll out of 2,400 charging points at Tesco's is most welcome. I am concerned that these will not suffice as the new EV future trend can only be upwards, given government legislation and the desire of more people to go green. It will be a real shame if the Tesco initiative should be found 'wanting' by the increase of customers driving EV's...I hope that Tesco will ensure that there will be ample opportunity to 'future proof' customer EV charging demand. Well done Tesco, you are right...Every little helps!

  • Astrid Wright - 04/02/2020 12:16

    My local Tesco superstore in Dibden Hampshire has just installed chargers with pod point but my car ( BMW i3 )won’t charge even though I’m a Pod-Point customer and have the app on my phone

    • Bob - 03/11/2020 12:06

      Have you thought about ditching the i3? Maybe replace with a more compatible EV?

  • alan gaudry - 28/10/2020 19:29

    The VW Tesco's electric car charging collaboration is a brilliant win win win PR operation.

  • David Shaw - 08/04/2021 12:53

    I have just received a parking fine as I exceeded the permitted parking time while charging my car at Tescos. I have appealed against this but if this is a valid fine there should be warning notices on the chargers.

Related content

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee