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Supermarkets double number of EV charging points

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

Data analysed by Zap-Map and the RAC shows that supermarkets opened 542 new EV charging units between the end of October 2017 and the end of 2019.  There are now 1,115 at UK supermarket sites.  This means that 6.5% of all public charging points are now located at supermarkets.

The number of stores offering charging facilities for battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles has also doubled, to 608.  That is roughly 5% of all UK supermarkets, which may seem low but many smaller and city-centre sites don’t have a car park.  Between 2017 and 2019, 313 stores added chargers with, on average, two charging units installed per site.

The RAC and Zap-Map both stress the importance of supermarkets offering customers charging facilities, due to the fact that customers spend 45 minutes on average in their stores – enough time to top up an electric car.

Asda has the greatest proportion of locations where an EV can be charged – 122 of its 633 sites (19%), followed by Morrisons (89 sites, 18%) and (49 sites, 14%).  At present, just 4% of Tesco sites have charging facilities, but the total number is 142 – the most of any supermarket chain.  Tesco has also recorded the biggest growth in charging points between 2017 and 2019.  A quarter of all supermarket charge points are at a Tesco site.

Currently, around 15% of supermarket charge points are capable of ‘rapid charging’. Morrisons leads the way with 84 rapid chargers, followed by Lidl and the Co-Op.

“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,” Zap-Map co-founder Melanie Shufflebotham said. “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.”

RAC spokesman Simon Williams added: “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.

“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.”