Volkswagen and Tesco to build UK’s largest retail charging network

2,400 Pod Point chargers coming to Tesco stores by 2020; free fast charging for customers

Volkswagen and Tesco have announced a plan to construct the UK’s largest retail charging network, with thousands of charging points set to become operational within the next three years.

Network operator Pod Point will install 2,400 charging bays at 600 Tesco stores across the country, significantly increasingly the overall capacity for charging electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

Customers will be able to use 7kW fast chargers for free, or pay a small fee “in line with the market rate” to use 50kW rapid chargers instead.

Prices for rapid charging will be announced at a later stage, although it’s not known if a time limit will be introduced on free charging points to prevent abuse of the service.

“This is part of our wider commitment to addressing the environmental challenges that matter most to our customers, colleagues and communities,” said Jason Tarry, Tesco's UK & Ireland CEO.

“We want to be the leading electric-vehicle energy provider and to support our customers with more sustainable solutions. Our EV network provides a sustainable choice for our customers and charging while they shop is another little help to make their lives easier.”    

The venture is part of Volkswagen’s plan to sell a million electric vehicles by 2025, with production models of its I.D. hatchback, I.D. Buzz minibus and I.D. Crozz SUV concepts set to join the e-up! and e-Golf over the coming years.

Geraldine Ingham, head of marketing at Volkswagen UK, believes this is an “incredibly exciting” project which “underlines the scale and ambition of our electric-car programme in the UK.”

She added: “Working with these partners to provide such an extensive network of EV chargers should leave no one in any doubt about the Volkswagen brand’s wholehearted commitment to an electric future.”   

Meanwhile, Pod Point CEO Erik Fairbairn said: “This agreement represents a 14% increase in the number of public charge bays in the UK and is a monumental day for electric vehicle drivers. It's a massive leap forward for the UK and a significant step in our mission to put a Pod Point everywhere you park.”