Electric car owners could get more than 1,000 miles of free driving per year following the rollout of a ground-breaking complimentary car charging network. Volkswagen announced last year it had partnered with Tesco and Pod Point to install around 2,400 charging points for electric cars.
The rollout is well under way – with EV owners at 100 Tesco stores across the United Kingdom now able to top up their battery for free while shopping. To highlight the scheme, Volkswagen visited the Potters Bar store in Hertfordshire with its exciting all-electric ID.3 – the first time the model has been in the UK since its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
The appearance of the new car – which arrives at UK dealerships in the summer – coincided with research by Volkswagen which revealed the average Brit spends 50 minutes per week in a supermarket buying food and drink. Electric car owners who plug in their vehicles could get around 22.5 miles of free charging from the 7kW points during that 50-minute period – enough time to do the weekly shop.
Over a whole year this works out at 1,170 miles – the equivalent of driving from London to Rome for free. The partnership and the new ID.3, which has a range of up to 340 miles between charges, is part of Volkswagen’s drive to boost e-mobility and make electric cars more affordable for millions of people. Its production is entirely carbon-neutral, while all electricity used to charge cars at Tesco comes from renewable sources.
Geraldine Ingham, Head of Marketing at Volkswagen UK, said: “Volkswagen literally means the people’s car, and with the ID.3 we are making electric car ownership more accessible. This fantastic partnership with Tesco and Pod Point makes choosing an electric car even more attractive, allowing people to charge for free, all while going about their daily business. And the best bit is that this is not just for Volkswagens – the chargers are designed for any electric car owner to take advantage of. We are really pleased to help break down any remaining barriers to opting for an electric car.”
Jason Tarry, Tesco CEO UK & ROI, added: “We’re now well on our way to achieving our ambition of installing more than 2,400 EV charging bays across 600 Tesco stores. Providing customers with charging points offers them a sustainable choice and giving them the opportunity to charge their car for free while they shop is another little help to make their lives easier.”
Data from Pod Point has revealed the charging points were used more than 12,000 times in November, powering customers’ vehicles with almost 60,000 kWh of energy. This is the equivalent of driving a Volkswagen e-Golf more than 250,000 miles – further than the distance to the moon.
Erik Fairbairn, Founder and CEO, Pod Point, said: “With the rollout now under way, we are witnessing a pivotal moment for the UK’s rapidly expanding public charging network. Providing smart, easy-to-use chargepoints at this scale is likely to accelerate the transition to electric cars up and down the country. Being able to top up while you shop at so many locations makes it more convenient to go electric than ever before.”
UK sales of pure electric vehicles (EVs) are up by 125% this year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. And the growth is set to continue, with Volkswagen’s survey of 2,000 UK motorists revealing 41% are considering leasing or owning an EV as their next vehicle. This figure increases to 61% among the 25-34 age group. The survey also reveals 80% of Brits think free charging points are a good thing.
Six in ten adults say they are more likely to buy an electric car if they can charge for free, while 68% reckon companies in the UK should be doing more to encourage motorists to make the switch to electric cars. It also highlighted the importance of public charging points – with 43% of respondents saying they would rely on them to top their battery up rather than having somewhere to charge at home.
And there is a misconception among Brits when it comes to how much it costs to run an electric car. A Volkswagen e-Golf costs around 4 pence per mile in electricity – but the average adult questioned by OnePoll thought it would cost almost 9 pence per mile. Volkswagen has now created a calculator which lets shoppers know how many free miles per year they could get from charging their electric car at Tesco.