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UK supermarkets battle to be the go-to destination for EV drivers

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The UK supermarkets are in a brand-new battle, with Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Waitrose all vying to be the go-to destination for EV drivers. 

Tesco EV chargers

Nearly all of the big supermarkets are gradually rolling out electric vehicle chargers across their store portfolio, but arguably none have been as aggressive as Tesco. The company’s partnership with Pod Point has seen at least one EV charger installed at 455 of its stores. 

That’s an impressive roll-out, as Tesco’s portfolio of EV chargers now covers much of the UK, although the old adage still applies that those in the South are more likely to be closer to an EV charger than those in the North. 

Some may question Tesco’s strategy regarding EV charging, however. By partnering with Pod Point and Volkswagen UK, Tesco offers free EV charging at its stores – but it has targeted destination charging speeds, rather than rapid charging. 

The vast majority of Tesco’s EV chargers can charge at 7 kW, but there are a few stores that boast 22 kW or even 50 kW chargers. That does mean that the majority of people will only get a few percent on their weekly grocery shop. 

Morrisons EV chargers

If Tesco is targeting destination charging, Morrrisons is going the opposite way, and instead targeting those who need a rapid charge. The company has partnered with Equans, the new name for Engie’s service-led activity, to roll out its EV chargers. 

There are now more than 200 Morrisons stores in the UK that boast at least one EV charger, with every single one boasting charging speeds of at least 50 kW. That makes it the leading supermarket chain for those who want to rapidly charge while they grab their weekly shop. 

However, Morrisons is not yet done with its roll-out. The company has recently announced that it will be adding an additional 100 rapid charge points across its portfolio in the next 12 months. These will allow customers to gain an 80% charge within 45 minutes – a length most UK shoppers are unlikely to exceed. 

Most of Morrisons EV chargers are currently concentrated in England, however, although the brand does say that it has begun rolling out rapid GeniePoint charging facilities at its Scottish stores. 

Unlike Tesco, however, drivers will be required to pay a fee in order to charge. The GeniePoint network is one of the more expensive rapid charging networks, although it’s arguably a more convenient solution for those who don’t have charging facilities at home. 

Waitrose EV chargers

Waitrose has arguably got off to a slow start compared to its competitors, but the supermarket chain has recently partnered with Shell Recharge to up its game. 

The partnership with Shell Recharge will see up to 800 charging stations hosted at up to 100 Waitrose stores across the UK by 2025. That means roughly a third of Waitrose locations will boast EV charging. 

Like Morrisons, Waitrose is taking the rapid charging approach, with Shell Recharge set to install six 22 kW and two 50 kW chargers at each location. That means there will be a cost for patrons to use it, unlike Tesco. 

Unfortunately, unlike Morrisons, Waitrose doesn’t appear to be in a rush. The first chargers from Shell Recharge to be installed at one of its stores won’t happen until early 2022. 

Asda EV chargers

Asda for many years led the race when it came to the number of EV chargers installed at its stores, with the firm previously partnering with Polar, now known as BP Pulse. These chargers were of the 7 kW variety, but the company has recently changed tact. 

Earlier this year, Asda announced that it would partner with Engie to roll out rapid chargers at some of its stores in West Yorkshire. These would be the same chargers that can be found at Morrisons locations across the UK. 

Only 19 Asda stores currently host these rapid chargers on the GeniePoint network, but the company has been aggressive in its commitment to electric vehicles. In fact, it has confirmed that it will convert its fleet of over 600 vehicles to electric cars by June 2025. 

Those getting a company car from Asda can currently choose from a wide range of electric vehicles, such as the Audi Q4 e-tron, Mercedes EQA and EQC, Tesla Model 3, Polestar 2, VW ID.3 and ID.4, and the electric version of the Volvo XC40, with 85% of employees supposedly already opting for an EV. 

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