VOLKSWAGEN and the supermarket chain Tesco have joined forces to create what they claim will be the UK’s “largest retail network” of electric car chargers.
Volkswagen will work with electric vehicle charging point company Pod Point to install 2,400 recharging stations across the UK, increasing the total number of public chargers by 14% in the process. It’s expected that 600 Tesco stores will be fitted with these charging points over the next three years.
It was confirmed the plan will involve two types of charging points: 7kW chargers (equivalent to the power you’d get from a dedicated wall box installation at home) that will initially be free to use, and 50kW rapid chargers. At the time of writing, it’s unknown what the split will be between the two.
Likewise, no details were disclosed on how much customers will have to pay for use of the rapid chargers, but it was revealed that prices will be “in line with the market rate”. Most 50kW rapid chargers in the UK have pay-as-you-go rates between 25p and 35p per kWh of electricity, and Pod Point rival Chargemaster charges 10.8p per kWh of electricity on top of a £7.85 monthly subscription.
As a result of this initiative, Tesco has become the latest supermarket chain in the UK to offer electric car recharging services to its customers; Asda began installing charging points at its stores in 2011 and other brands, such as Waitrose, also offer charging at a number of stores.
VW and Tesco’s announcement comes after a number of retailers began cutting petrol pump costs, in response to falling wholesale petrol prices.
Volkswagen will also likely gain from the venture: as well as selling electric versions of the Up! and Golf, it also plans to introduce a range of new pure-electric models, with the first being a Golf-sized hatchback that’s due to go on sale next year.
Volkswagen Group brands Audi and Porsche already sell a number of plug-in vehicles and plan to launch their own pure-electric cars, in 2019 and 2020 respectively.