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Low on stock: Only 1-in-10 UK supermarkets offer electric car charging

A survey by Zap-Map and the RAC reveals only 13% of supermarkets are equipped with EV chargers, despite a 59% increase in the past year

Polestar 2 and LEVC TX connected to Sainsburys EV chargers

Finding a space in the supermarket car park can be tricky, but tracking down an EV charger is even more difficult as new data reveals that only one in 10 supermarkets offer some kind of electric car charging facilities.

A result of a collaboration between the RAC and EV charging website Zap-Map, this new study reveals that only 13% of UK supermarkets have equipped their car parks with EV chargers, despite this figure having risen sharply by 59% since this time last year.

As of the end of last year, there are as many as 2,913 EV chargepoints spread across the nation’s ever-growing number of supermarkets. This equates to roughly 10% of the UK’s entire public rapid charging infrastructure, which currently comprises a total of 10,967 chargers across 5,113 locations.

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In case you’re wondering, the leader in the ongoing supermarket EV charger charge is Tesco, which boasts a network of as many as 1,305 chargepoints across its 4,859 stores. While this figure may seem small, only 12% of Tesco outlets can actually facilitate EV charging, given the majority are small convenience stores.

Morrisons and Lidl are up next, with 413 and 346 chargers to their names respectively. Waitrose and Aldi are both registered as having installed 199 chargers each, while Sainsbury’s is lagging far behind the competition with only 157 chargepoints – something that could change soon in the future after the brand’s launch of its new ‘Smart Charge’ network.

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EV owners looking to shop at Asda are likely to be even more disappointed as, following the chain’s split from its partnership with BP Pulse, it has gone from 165 chargers across its roughly 1,000 nation-wide stores to just 46.

One thing worth noting, however, is while frontrunner Tesco, for a long time, offered free EV charging in collaboration with Pod Point, many of the chargepoint operator’s 7kW and 22kW units now require payment.

The majority of EV charging at supermarkets comes under the umbrella of ‘rapid/ultra-rapid charging’, which comprises speeds of over 50kW and utilises DC instead of slower AC technology. Slower AC and DC units are also still popping up, though, with many arguing that faster chargers can top-up the average EV way faster than it takes to do the weekly shop.

In a statement, RAC spokesperson, Simon Williams, appeared optimistic about the situation, saying: “It’s very encouraging to see supermarkets doing their best to allay these fears by ramping up EV charging facilities across a greater proportion of their estates

“As supermarkets [already] 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.”

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Consumer reporter

Tom is Auto Express' Consumer reporter, meaning he spends his time investigating the stories that matter to all motorists - enthusiasts or otherwise. An ex-BBC journalist and Multimedia Journalism graduate, Tom previously wrote for partner sites Carbuyer and DrivingElectric and you may also spot him throwing away his dignity by filming videos for the Auto Express social media channels.

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