Millions of Brits charge their electric cars for free as the UK’s largest network expands to 500 locations

The UK’s largest free electric vehicle charging network has expanded to 500 locations across the country, while usage has increased by 300 per cent over the past year.

The number of free charging sessions on the network increased from 500,000 in April 2021 to more than two million by the end of February.

The 500th charging station was opened in the Tesco Extra store


The 500th charging station was opened in the Tesco Extra store

Since Tesco, Volkswagen and Pod Point launched the network in 2019, the charging points have given drivers more than 41 million miles of free electric driving – the equivalent of traveling from the earth to the moon and back 85 times.

The 500th charging point has opened at the Tesco Extra store in Inverness as the network strengthens local infrastructure.

Other areas that have benefited from improved loading access are Southend-on-Sea, Bolton, Wirral, Walsall and Port Talbot.

As the grid uses only renewable energy, this milestone represents a saving of 8,786 tonnes of CO2 compared to driving the same route in a typical internal combustion engine car.

In reality, this is almost the equivalent of CO2 absorbed by 900,000 trees in one year.

The network of more than 1,000 chargers in 500 Tesco supermarkets in the UK, designed to offer customers a safe, reliable and accessible way to charge their electric cars, now includes 100 fast chargers.

The network’s 7kW chargers and 22kW chargers are free to use, and the 50kW fast chargers are available at a competitive price for customers who need more than one charge.

The Inverness store also benefits from a new public fast charger.

Network growth has specifically targeted areas without fast charging access, with stores in Leicester and Maldon also adding fast charging points.

This latest milestone means the network is on track to meet its original target of rolling out charging points in 600 Tesco stores across the UK.

Jason Tarry, CEO of Tesco UK & ROI said: “We are delighted to see the rollout of free electric vehicle charging in our retail stores gaining momentum.

“The network helps customers who need to save time and save on fees when shopping.

“This latest milestone underscores the commitment of the whole company to our goal of becoming carbon neutral in the UK by 2035.”

Volkswagen UK’s Sarah Cox said: “We want to make zero-carbon mobility accessible to everyone.

“That’s why we made sure that these chargers are not just for Volkswagen and can be used by any electric car brand.

“It is very encouraging that drivers of over 220 models from almost 40 different brands have already benefited from free green top-ups while shopping.”

Erik Fairbairn, Founder and CEO of Pod Point said: “The partnership continues to make a significant and highly visible contribution to the UK charging infrastructure and gives drivers the confidence to switch to electric.

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“Pod Point’s mission is to install an electric vehicle charging station wherever you park, and we’re excited to see so many more buyers across the country reaping the benefits as we continue the rollout.”

The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that 190,727 battery electric vehicles were registered in the UK in 2021, a 76.3 per cent increase on 2020 as the journey continues towards the electrification date of 2030. Millions of Brits charge their electric cars for free as the UK’s largest network expands to 500 locations

Fry Electronics Team

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