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The best supermarkets for shoppers with electric cars


Owners of electric cars should consider doing their weekly shop at Tesco,  because the supermarket not only has more charging points than rivals but they are cheaper to use than plugging in at home.

A new study compared UK supermarkets based on how many of their sites have EV charging facilities, finding that two thirds (66 per cent) of Tesco stores reviewed had at least one device.

Tesco only recently ditched its free charging offer to customers. Yet, even with pricing across its different device speeds, it is still cheaper to plug into its chargers than boosting batteries at home using a domestic energy tariff.

Best supermarkets for electric car owners: Tesco has a charging point at two thirds of its UK stores

Best supermarkets for electric car owners: Tesco has a charging point at two thirds of its UK stores

Pod Point, which manages devices in Tesco car parks in partnership with Volkswagen, confirmed last month that EV drivers would no longer benefit from free charging at the supermarket.

From 1 November, electric car owners will need to pay 28p per kWh to use the slowest 7kW devices, 40p for 22kW chargers and 50p per kWh to plug into its network of rapid 50kW charging points.

The operator said it was ending free charging in the hope that ‘customers will only top up when they need to, ensuring that they make way for others once their cars are charged’.

Despite putting an end to free charging in its car parks, Tesco devices are still less expensive than the average cost to plug in at home.

With energy prices at an all-time high, the cost to charge a Volkswagen ID.3 to cover 10,000 miles per year at home would be £747 when charged at the daytime domestic energy price cap of 34p/kWh, the electric car website found.

Charging at Tesco’s cheapest rate of 28p/kWh to use 7kW devices would be £615, meaning a saving of £132, Electrifying says.

It is why the Electrifying.com – a website dedicated to electric car ownership – has just named Tesco the best supermarket for EV drivers. 

Despite putting an end to free charging in its car parks, Tesco devices are still less expensive than the average cost to plug in at home

Despite putting an end to free charging in its car parks, Tesco devices are still less expensive than the average cost to plug in at home

WHICH SUPERMARKET CHAIN HAS THE BEST CHARGING FACILITIES FOR ELECTRIC CARS? 
Percentage of stores with at least one CP (%) Total UK stores  Number of stores with at least one charger Total chargers across all supermarket stores Free to use?  **Cheapest charging price 
Tesco 66% 798 528 2,250  No 28p per kWh 
Waitrose  17.6% 336  n/a  224   No 55p per kWh*** 
Lidl  28% >935  261 n/a No  40p per kWh 
Aldi 12% >970 n/a >400 Yes Free 
Sainsbury’s* n/a >600 n/a >100 Yes Free 
Source: Electrifying.com*Sainsbury’s locations based on 2021 figures, **Charging prices sourced by ThisisMoney, ***Cheapest charging via Waitrose’s provider, Shell Recharge

In second place in its supermarket awards is Lidl.

Some 28 per cent of its UK sites currently have at least one electric car charging point.

Waitrose placed third with just 17 per cent of its stores currently offering customers the ability to charge electric cars. However, the company has announced plans to install 800 Shell Recharge charging points at 100 of its locations by 2025.

Almost one in three (28%) of UK Lidl supermarkets currently have at least one electric car charging point

Almost one in three (28%) of UK Lidl supermarkets currently have at least one electric car charging point

Waitrose has a charging device at just 17% of stores. However, the company has announced plans to install 800 Shell Recharge charging points at 100 of its locations by 2025

Waitrose has a charging device at just 17% of stores. However, the company has announced plans to install 800 Shell Recharge charging points at 100 of its locations by 2025

For electric car drivers who prefer to shop at Aldi, Electrifying says it can be a lottery in terms of charging facilities, with just 12 per cent of its stores currently providing EV devices for customers. 

But like the store itself, these devices offer great value, with on-site charging points remaining free to use, unlike rivals.

Sainsbury’s, which according to its website have over 600 stores, said it has ‘over 100 charge points available at their stores’ but declined to reveal the actual number of stores the chargers are in.

Data from 2021 shows that there were devices at just 43 of its stores – that’s a paltry 7 per cent of its nationwide supermarkets. 

However, like Aldi, all of these points are currently free to use.

Just 12% of Aldis in the UK have an EV charging point. However, they are free to use at the moment

Just 12% of Aldis in the UK have an EV charging point. However, they are free to use at the moment

Sainsbury's was ranked at the bottom of the study, yet the brand says it is trying to ramp-up its electric car charging facilities

Sainsbury’s was ranked at the bottom of the study, yet the brand says it is trying to ramp-up its electric car charging facilities

Electrifying founder, Ginny Buckley, said with more electric cars entering our roads, it is ‘crucial’ that charging infrastructure in and around convenient locations – such as supermarkets – grows at a similar pace.

‘People are rightly looking for ease and convenience when it comes to charging their cars, with 37 per cent of drivers telling us that other than at home, they would like to be able to charge at a supermarket when buying their groceries.

‘Congratulations to Tesco who have invested heavily to provide their customers with good charging facilities; we know that shoppers are feeling the pinch, which is why it’s reassuring to see that despite most supermarkets charging customers to ‘fill up’ with electric, the price for doing so is often cheaper than it would be to charge on-street or even at home.’

The report on the best supermarkets for EV drivers is published by Electrifying.com. Founder, Ginny Buckley (pic), says charging infrastructure in convenient locations needs to grow faster than what it is currently

The report on the best supermarkets for EV drivers is published by Electrifying.com. Founder, Ginny Buckley (pic), says charging infrastructure in convenient locations needs to grow faster than what it is currently

Clare Gregorio, head of retail partnerships at Tesco said the supermarket has already provided more than 86 million miles of charging across 563 stores. 

‘The charging network, installed in partnership with Pod Point and Volkswagen, highlights our commitment to become carbon neutral across our operations in the UK by 2035, and net zero across our whole footprint by 2050,’ she added.

Lidl GB said it has invested over £15million in the rollout of electric vehicle charging points at its supermarkets since 2017 and has committed to having rapid devices at 300 stores by the end this year. 

‘We include a charge point with every new store we open, where it’s possible to (i.e. if it’s on a retail park it’s not something we have full control of), and the large majority of our stores with charge points feature rapid chargers,’ it said.

Despite refusing to outline the exact number of stores across the country with charging facilities, a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said it has ‘over 100 available’ at stores. 

‘We have learnt a lot from installing these and have been working hard for some time now on our ambitious plan for our next generation of charging points,’ the spokesperson adds. 

‘We want to offer these in as many stores as possible and create a better customer experience by offering both slow and fast charging points. We are well on our way to finalising and delivering our plans and we are confident they will meet the EV charging needs of our customers.

‘We are not in a position to share more detail at this point, however we will be making further announcements over the next few months. EV charging is a priority for Sainsbury’s – this has been the case for many months and we are close to updating our colleagues and customers on our plans.’

electric cars special section

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