Supermarkets in the UK have installed almost 1,000 new electric car charging points in the past two years, according to new research. The figures from the RAC and electric vehicle (EV) website Zap-Map found there are now 2,059 chargers at supermarket sites, up 85 percent from 1,112 in January 2020.
That means supermarkets now account for around eight percent of the UK’s 26,000 publicly accessible EV chargers, up from 6.5 percent in early 2020. And the number of individual stores that boast charging facilities has more than doubled from 607 at the beginning of 2020 to 1,300 now.
According to the two organisations, Tesco is leading the way in terms of charging points, with 641 devices installed since January 2020 and a total of 922 chargers across its 4,008 UK stores. That’s 676 more chargers than its nearest rival, Asda, which has 246 chargers across the UK.
The RAC’s director of EVs, Sarah Winward-Kotecha, said the proliferation of supermarket charging could help to increase electric vehicle uptake. Rapid charge points, she claimed, would be particularly influential among prospective electric car drivers.
“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,” she said. “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.
“Rapid charge points, in particular, make it possible to run an EV easily without access to a home charger as drivers can get their cars topped up in the time it takes them to do their weekly shop. We call on all the supermarket chains to let their customers know what to expect when it comes to EV charging provision and recognise the vital role they play in encouraging many more drivers to opt for electric cars next time they change their vehicles."
Meanwhile Melanie Shufflebotham, the co-founder of Zap-Map, said the chargers at supermarkets would give drivers who could not charge at home the chance to fill their batteries elsewhere.
“Over the past 12 months there has been more than 130,000 new drivers of fully electric cars on UK roads, and usage of public charging has surged since the lockdown has eased,” she said. “To support the increased demand, more charge points will be needed in the future, so it is encouraging to see the progress made by the supermarkets.
“These facilities will be good both for ‘top-up’ charging and as a replacement for home charging. As we move towards 2030, it will be important for supermarkets not only to accelerate this roll-out but also to ensure that the consumer experience is as good as possible by providing ‘open access’ and simple payment options.”