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Sainsbury's launches its own EV charging network but will this once again be a South of England scheme?

By Mathilda Bartholomew | January 15, 2024

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It is the first supermarket-owned electric vehicle charging network in the UK, aiming to feature 750 rapid chargers across 100 stores by the end of the year

Sainsbury's launches its own EV charging network but will this once again be a South of England scheme?

Sainsbury's has introduced its own electric vehicle (EV) charging brand, marking the first instance of a British supermarket establishing and managing its EV charging network.

The supermarket giant has unveiled its 'Smart Charge' brand, aiming to deploy 750 rapid charging devices across over 100 of its stores by the end of the year.

Sainsbury's executives believe this move will position them among the top five providers of ultra-rapid EV charging devices in the UK by 2025.

At the minute, 205 chargers are already operational in 23 UK supermarkets, but critics have once again had to point out that the North of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have once again been left behind.

Of those 205 charge points, there are four in Bishop Auckland, eight in Harrogate and the rest then below Nottingham. 

Sainsbury's Newport store has eight, whereas Scotland's 96 Sainsbury's stores are yet to receive any and the same is said for Northern Ireland.

The majority of these devices that are available however, offer charging speeds of up to 150kW, capable of boosting the battery levels of most compatible EVs from 10 to 80 percent in around 30 minutes. Some locations will feature even faster 300kW charging points, currently compatible with select EV models like Porsche's Taycan and the Kia EV6. 

All chargers accept contactless payments, with a flat rate charge of 75p per kWh, aligning with the UK average price for rapid chargers (23 to 99kW) and being nearly 5p cheaper than the national average cost for public ultra-rapid devices (100kW plus).

This initiative comes after Sainsbury's conducted market research with EV owners, revealing that a third of respondents faced challenges accessing ultra-rapid public charging networks.

Three-quarters of those surveyed use multiple public EV charging networks, but 94 per cent expressed a preference for a single, trustworthy brand. In response, Sainsbury's aims to provide a reliable and efficient charging network powered by renewable energy, sourced from solar and wind farms.

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