Living with an EV in the UK is getting easier since Volkswagen and PodPoint teamed up with the Tesco chain over a year ago. The partners announced they have now installed charge points at 200 Tesco superstores, all free to use.
Chester is site #200 and offers Tesco clients four charge points. The plan, dating back to December 2018, sees the supermarket chain hand over parking spaces to Volkswagen and Pod Point to install a total of 2,400 charge points. With 600 designated locations, each site will host up to four charging columns and Tesco claims they have now installed a total of 402.
The 200 charge sites also mean the partners have reached a third of their goal and Jason Tarry, Tesco CEO UK, pointed out “the Covid-19 pandemic meant we had to delay our plans”.
The project is back on track however and Sarah Cox, head of marketing for Volkswagen UK stresses that drivers of any electric vehicle can use the chargers for free. That is provided they shop at Tesco and bring some time. The Tesco network includes both free-to-use 7 kW chargers, as well as 50 kW fast chargers, which customers have to pay for.
Volkswagen communications also calculate the impact over the past 18 months since launch. Their charging stations across the UK have been used 150,000 times, providing EV batteries with a combined 669 megawatts of power from renewables.
Seeing Volkswagen in the role of a non-proprietary charging infrastructure provider has become a common sight. The company plans to sell more than a million electric vehicles per year by 2025, which means they may have to help out public infrastructure for the goal to be feasible. Recently, charging infrastructure and energy management has thus moved into strategic focus, especially as the ID.3 is to hit the roads this autumn. Volkswagen opened sales in select markets yesterday and at the same time announced the corresponding charging service We Charge. The company is of course also a founding member of Ionity and was forced to build the Electrify America network in the States.
While British customers are still waiting for the ID.3 on-sale, the Tesco network is expected to increase the number of available charging stations in the UK by 14% upon completion, according to VW.
Electric car drivers in Britain may also want to look into a new charge card from Digital Charging Solutions that allows access to charging stations from more than fifteen domestic providers including PodPoint.