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Volkswagen and Tesco plan UK’s biggest free car-charging network

Volkswagen and Tesco

The automaker encourages customers to buy an electric vehicle while providing the free charging service.

Volkswagen, a German auto firm and Tesco, a UK grocer’s collaboration is planning to build the largest free electric car-charging network in Britain. Recently, the two firms made an announcement to install nearly 2,500 charging points in the parking lots of 627 Tesco stores across the United Kingdom, over the next three years.

Volkswagen UK board member Mike Orford reported that his company wants to encourage people towards electric vehicle ownership by removing anxieties about when and where a car can be charged. He stated, “People that live in a flat who might want an electric car can’t charge at home as they have to park in the street. If they say, ‘Actually, I know I go to Tesco twice a week for a shop,’ then this suddenly feels quite viable.”

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have shown that more than 120,000 ‘alternatively fueled vehicles’ have been registered in the UK in 2018, which is a 22 percent increase on the same period last year.

Non-Tesco customers can also use the service

To be installed by the charging network operator Pod Point, customers at larger Tesco sites will be able to choose between a free 7-kilowatt (kW) charger or a pay-as-you-go rapid charge 50 kW option. According to Orford, people would not need to be a Tesco customer to make use of the charge points, but the parking bays would be monitored in the same way as disabled or “mother and baby” spots.

Car charging while shopping

Volkswagen predicts that the use of the bays, which should be compatible with most makes of electric cars, will become habitual to shoppers. Orford told, “It is a bit like plugging in your mobile phone, most of us don’t wait until the battery is flat,” before adding, “People can get a quick 10-minute charge while just buying a pint of milk.”

It would be a multi-million-pound venture and neither company has revealed the expected outlay, as the cost is being borne by both Volkswagen and Tesco.

Insights into Volkswagen’s future strategies

Volkswagen announced lately that it would spend almost 44 billion euros on developing electric cars, autonomous driving, and new mobility services by 2023. The auto group predicts its VW brand should sell a million electric cars a year by 2025. In addition, the automaker has informed that it is deciding where to locate a new factory in North America to build electric vehicles for the US market.