Car charging at a supermarket

Supermarket charge points have doubled

The number of charge points for electric vehicles (EV) located at supermarkets has doubled in the last two years, according to new data analysed by Zap-Map and the RAC.

From the end of October 2017 to the end of 2019, 542 EV charger units were installed by supermarkets, taking the total on their sites to 1,115 – a growth of 95 per cent. This means 6.5 per cent of all the UK’s public charge points are located at supermarkets, with growth in line with the overall growth of public charge points.

The number of stores offering charging facilities has also doubled, with 608 supermarket sites now catering for battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. This equates to five per cent of all supermarkets. This appears low, but it is in part due to a considerable proportion of smaller supermarket sites not having car parks. Between 2017 and 2019, 313 stores added chargers with, on average, two charging units being installed per site.

Supermarkets are considered to be ideal locations for charging EVs, due to the fact that customers spend 45 minutes on average in their stores – a more than reasonable amount of time to top up an electric car.

When looking at each supermarket’s store portfolios Asda has the greatest proportion of locations where an EV can be charged – 122 of its 633 sites (19 per cent). Morrisons is in second spot with EV charging available at 89 of its 494 stores (18 per cent), while Waitrose comes in third place with 14 per cent – 49 of 349 stores. While Tesco currently only has 4 per cent of stores with charging capability, it has highest total number of stores with charging facilities (142 of 3,961 stores).

Zap Map and RAC bar chart showing increase of car charge points

Not only does Tesco have the most stores with charging facilities, it is also the supermarket brand that has increased the number of charge points the most between 2017 and 2019, adding 258 to take its total to 281 by the end of 2019 – this means a quarter (25 per cent) of all supermarket charge points are at Tesco. Asda has 228 charging units, but it only installed eight in the two years from 2017 (three per cent increase) – this means it has a fifth (20 per cent) of all supermarket charge points.

Morrisons, Co-op, Lidl and Aldi have all also seen double-digit growth. Morrisons installed 83 charge points giving it 143 in total, Co-op 68 (88 in total), Lidl 48 (76 in total), Aldi 40 (72 in total), and Sainsbury’s 27, making for a total of 139 chargers.

Currently, 15 per cent of supermarket charge points are rapid chargers. Morrisons leads the way here with 84 rapid chargers, making for 59 per cent of its total number of chargers. Lidl is second with 63 per cent of its 76 units (48) equipped with rapid charging. Co-op is in third with 18 per cent of 88 chargers (16) capable of delivering its EV-owning customers with a rapid charge. Asda and Tesco which dominate EV charging generally at supermarkets are lagging behind in the rapid stakes with one and two chargers respectively.

Zap Map and RAC bar chart showing increase of car charge points

Melanie Shufflebotham, co-founder of charging point platform Zap-Map, said: “It is very encouraging to see supermarkets increasingly embracing electric vehicle charging at their stores with a dramatic shift in the number of chargers being installed over the course of the last two years.

“Our research shows that while the majority of charging is done at home, most EV drivers use the public network more than once a month. While a robust rapid infrastructure across the country is essential for longer journeys, having charge points in supermarkets provides EV drivers an excellent way to ‘graze energy while doing an everyday task.

“With 89 per cent of EV drivers taking the availability of charge points into account when selecting their parking, providing charging can be a real differentiator locally in the competitive supermarket sector. This seems to be recognised by some supermarkets, notably Tesco and Sainsbury’s, providing EV charging for free.”

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