UK supermarkets charge ahead with EV infrastructure additions

Britain’s supermarkets collectively added almost 1,200 electric vehicle (EV) charging points to stores in 2023, meaning that more than one in ten locations now has these facilities.

UK supermarkets charge ahead with EV infrastructure additions

Image: Sainsbury's

That is according to new data from Zapmap and the RAC, which has revealed a 69% year-on-year increase in charging point installations by grocery retailers last year.

1,195 charging points were added last year, many at locations which previously did not have them. As such, 1,616 stores had them at the end of 2023, compared to 1,015 stores the year prior. Now, 13% of the UK’s supermarket locations host charging infrastructure.

The vast majority (93%) of chargers added to supermarkets in 2023 were either rapid or ultra-rapid.

Tesco accounted for the lion’s share of total additions in 2023, adding almost 500 new chargers. It continues to host the UK’s biggest supermarket charging network, with 1,305 devices now in place.

Morrisons, meanwhile, added more than 220 additional chargers in 2023, while Lidl added 160.

Asda was the only major British supermarket to decrease its charging stock between 2022 and 2023, from 165 devices to 46. This means 98% of Asda stores now have no charging facilities.

The firm has attributed this to its contract with bp Pulse ending in October 2023.

“These EV charging points remain on site with clear signage to indicate to customers that the equipment is currently not in use, whilst we consider our options,” a spokesperson told edie.

Nonetheless, Zapmap believes this is a small blip amid a wider trend of “sustained growth”.

Zapmap polling has revealed that one in three EV drivers in the UK now regularly stop at supermarkets to charge.

The RAC’s EV spokesperson Simon Williams said: “As the supermarkets currently dominate UK fuel sales, it makes sense for them to try to retain as much of that market as they can by catering to the needs of all EV drivers looking to recharge as quickly as possible.

“It’s also great to see them bringing rapid charging to more urban areas, as this complements the obvious and much-needed focus on motorway service areas.”

Strategic vision

The UK Government is aiming for the nation to host at least 300,000 public charging points by 2030, up from around 55,000 at present.

It has backed this vision with a funding pledge of £1.6bn, of which £950m will be allocated to rapid charging points across England’s motorway network by 2035.

A recent House of Lords report cautioned Ministers that EV drivers still face a ‘postcode lottery’ when it comes to the availability of public charging points.

The Department for Transport (DfT) recently announced initiatives to expedite EV chargepoint installations, including grants for state-funded schools and nurseries, funding for local authorities, and proposals to increase chargepoint numbers.

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