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Free electric vehicle charging network at Tesco grows

Electric car plugged into a charge point outside Tesco

The growing network of free charge points for electric vehicles (EVs) at Tesco stores has now expanded to 500 locations, while usage has surged 300% over the past year.

Free charging sessions on the network, which only uses renewable energy, increased from 500,000 in April 2021 to more than two million by the end of February.

The network was launched in 2019 by Tesco, Volkswagen and Pod Point, with the 500th charging location opened at the Tesco Extra store in Inverness.

Other areas to have benefitted from improved charging access include Southend-on-Sea, Bolton, Wirral, Walsall and Port Talbot, it says.

Jason Tarry, CEO at Tesco UK and ROI, said: “We’re thrilled to see the rollout of free EV charging at our retail stores gather pace. 

“The network is helping customers visiting Tesco who need to save time and charge while they shop. 

“This latest milestone highlights the commitment across the business to our goal of carbon neutrality in the UK by 2035.”

Designed to offer Tesco customers a secure, reliable and accessible way to top up their electric cars, the network of more than 1,000 chargers at 500 Tesco Supermarkets in the UK also now includes 100 rapid chargers. 

The network’s 7kW chargers and 22kW chargers are free to use, and its 50kW rapid chargers are available at a competitive rate for customers requiring more than a top-up, says Tesco.

The Tesco Inverness store also benefits from a new public rapid charger. 

The network’s growth has specifically targeted areas without rapid charging access, with Tesco stores in Leicester and Maldon also gaining rapid charging points.

Sarah Cox, head of marketing at Volkswagen UK, said: “At Volkswagen, we want to make carbon neutral mobility accessible to everyone. That’s why we’ve made sure these chargers aren’t just for Volkswagens and can be used by any electric car brand. 

“It’s hugely encouraging that drivers from over 220 models from almost 40 different brands have already benefited from free, green top ups while shopping at Tesco.”

This latest milestone means the network is on track to meet its original target of launching charging points at 600 Tesco stores across the UK.

Erik Fairbairn, Pod Point founder and CEO, said: “The partnership is continuing to make a significant and very visible contribution to the UK’s charging infrastructure, giving drivers the confidence to transition to electric. 

“Pod Point's mission is to put an EV charge point everywhere you park and we’re delighted to see so many more shoppers up and down the country reap the benefits as we continue the rollout.”

The free charging network milestone comes after the Government announced the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, which commits £1.6 billion to the creation of 300,000 public charge points by 2030, as well as placing new legal responsibilities on charging providers covering means of payment and other factors.

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