From 2019, some Tesco stores will be offering their customers free charging for their electric cars, it has been announced. The supermarket giant is intending to install as many as around 2,500 charging bays at close to 600 stores by 2020 in a major new collaboration with Volkswagen. There will be no charge for using a standard 7kW charger, but there will be fees for drivers wanting to make use of a faster service.
Volkswagen says that customers will have the option to leave their vehicles to be charged while they go and do their shopping, which will allow plenty of time for a free charge of a “substantial” nature. The type of car being charged will have an effect on the length of time that it takes to have its battery fully replenished. The charging facilities for Tesco and Volkswagen are to be built by a firm called Podpoint.
There are two electric cars from Volkswagen currently available on the market in the UK – the e-Up and the e-Golf. Around 1,350 of the vehicles have been sold by the company since their initial release back in 2014, but Volkswagen has big plans for a major expansion of its electric vehicle portfolio by offering all of its models in electric versions by 2020.
Volkswagen and Tesco are among a variety of large companies that have started getting into the electric car charging industry, with the other three largest supermarket chains in the UK – Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s – all having a number of charging points for electric vehicles at some of their stores, though these are noticeably smaller scale than the ambitious plans that have been unveiled by Tesco and Volkswagen. 12,526 battery-powered motor vehicles have been sold so far this year in the UK, an increase of 0.6% on 2017.