Have you been thinking about making the switch to an electric vehicle, but struggled to see how you’d work regular charging stops into your everyday life? It might feel like a daunting change, but ever-improving charging infrastructure is in place to make owning an electric or hybrid car as easy as possible. Currently, there are more than 13,000 charging points in the UK – five times more than there were in 2011.
The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has outlined new plans to increase the number of electric chargers available, with a primary focus on home and workplace charging points. This follows a recent report that revealed the UK needs to see a six fold increase in the number of EV charging points by 2020 in order to provide for green motorists. The government has also committed £440 million to deliver charging infrastructure and established the Plug-In Car Grant, which subsidises EV purchases.
However, some of the powerpoints you may not have considered taking advantage of are those that are available at supermarkets, including Morrisons, Lidl, Asda and Tesco. In 2018, only 3% of supermarkets across the UK had a charging point, with the best coverage available from Asda. If you like the sound of boosting your car’s battery while sorting your weekly food shop, keep reading our guide to the best supermarkets for electric vehicle charging.
As of August 2019, there were 199 electric vehicle charging stations across the UK, compared to 8,396 conventional fuel stations. This marks a significant increase from previous years, with 913 installed in 2012 and 6,699 available in 2018. Although this means that there are currently more electric powerpoints than fuel stations, this doesn’t mean that electric vehicles have more opportunities to refuel than petrol or diesel cars, as most fuel stations can accommodate at least four pumps and EV sites have just one charger.
Electric cars use multiple types of connectors to charge and unlike conventional cars, it’s almost impossible to use the wrong one for each vehicle. Currently, there are three different types of chargers, with different connections available for each. These are:
If you’re unsure which charger your electric vehicle requires, consult the handbook or manufacturer site for details. Helpfully, most modern sat-navs in new electric vehicles include charging stops when mapping a route.
Supermarkets and shopping centres are a regular destination for drivers, and therefore an important place for electric vehicle powerpoints. Almost 170 new charging devices were installed at supermarkets in 2017, providing 1,096 connectors across the UK. However, supermarkets need to take steps to better provide for electric vehicle owners, as more and more drivers will start selecting their shopping location based on charging availability.
Over the past year, Pod Point has been rolling out rapid charging stations at Lidl supermarkets across the country, consisting of standard triple AC/DC rapid chargers capable of a charging speed up to 50kW. Tesco has also announced an initiative to entice electric vehicle drivers, working with manufacturer Volkswagen to develop more than 2,400 EV charging units across 600 branches by 2020. Their standard 7kW chargers will be free to use, while faster 50kW points are available at a cost.
In March, Morrisons confirmed plans to roll out electric chargers in partnership with GeniePoint Network, with the aim to power up EVs in 20 minutes. The network will consist of 50-100kW specification rapid chargers and was scheduled to be installed by the end of 2019.
In 2018, Asda was leading the way, with 222 charge points providing 432 connectors across 19% of stores. Next was Sainsbury’s, with 112 devices and 222 connectors at 50 locations, and then Waitrose with 76 devices and 154 connectors at 11% of stores. Tesco had a way to go, providing just 23 devices with 45 connectors across 0.4% of locations. Just four supermarkets had installed rapid devices, with Lidl equipping 11 out of their 27 devices with rapid charging.
When it comes to supermarket charging points, most are Type 2 fast points (71%), then slow connectors (25%) and only 4% are rapid. Lidl provides the most rapid chargers, followed by Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and the Co-op. Therefore, which is the best supermarket for electric vehicle charging depends on your requirements – for fast charging it’s Lidl, but for powerpoint availability, it’s Asda.
Hopefully, more supermarkets invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure over the next year, as shoppers are often there for at least 20 minutes at a time. Therefore, shopping centres and supermarkets lend themselves to top-up charging and play a crucial role in promoting sustainable driving.
Making the switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle has never been easier, especially with the planned developments of the charging infrastructure. If you’re looking for your dream electric vehicle, or want to find out more about owning an EV, contact our experienced team on 0113 387 4241 to discuss your requirements.
Switching from a petrol or diesel car to an electric one is easier than you think. Read our article to find out more about the reality of switching to an electric car.