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1-in-10 supermarkets in the UK have electric car charging stations

By Mathilda Bartholomew | March 22, 2024

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UK supermarkets have increased their EV charging options significantly, with the total number of supermarkets offering charging points jumping by 59% last year.

1-in-10 supermarkets in the UK have electric car charging stations

In 2023, UK supermarkets made it easier for drivers with electric vehicles (EVs) by adding EV chargers to over 600 new locations. This means that now more than one in ten supermarkets in the UK have charging stations, according to Zapmap and the RAC.

The total number of supermarkets offering EV charging points increased by 59% last year, going from 1,015 stores in 2022 to 1,616 in 2023. This means 13% of all supermarkets in the UK, including those without parking, now have charging facilities.

Last year, the number of chargers installed also went up by 69%, with stores adding 1,195 new charging devices. This brought the total number up from 1,721 in January 2022 to 2,916 by the end of 2023.

Of these, 1,107 units were rapid or ultra-rapid chargers, marking a big increase from the 451 rapid chargers installed in 2022. This means that over half (55%) of all supermarket EV locations now offer higher-powered charging capabilities.

By the end of last year, 10% of all rapid and ultra-rapid chargers in the UK were at supermarket locations - 1,107 units out of 10,967 across the country.

Sainsbury’s saw the biggest growth in the supermarket charging league with its ultra-rapid network Smart Charge, nearly tripling its total device numbers in 2023. Meanwhile, Tesco leads with the largest overall supermarket charging network.

However, there are disparities, with some supermarkets installing more chargers than others. For instance, Morrisons and Lidl topped the list for both the proportion of chargers per store and the number of rapid chargers installed.

On the other hand, Asda removed a large proportion of its chargers after its contract ended with bp pulse, leaving it with facilities at just 22 stores.

RAC EV spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Concerns about the lack of public charge points are one of the biggest reasons why drivers aren’t choosing to go electric when buying their next car, with six-in-10 telling us this. It’s very encouraging to see supermarkets doing their best to allay these fears by ramping up EV charging facilities across a greater proportion of their estates.

“The data also shows a surge of investment in the very fastest chargers. These rapid and ultra-rapid units are the closest drivers can get to filling up with fuel because they offer the fastest charging speeds, helping to reduce queues so motorists can resume their journeys as quickly as possible.  

“As the supermarkets currently dominate UK fuel sales, it makes sense for them to try to retain as much of that market as they can by catering to the needs of all EV drivers looking to recharge as quickly as possible.  

“It’s also great to see them bringing rapid charging to more urban areas, as this complements the obvious and much-needed focus on motorway service areas.”  

Supermarkets are super popular for EV drivers in the UK, according to Zapmap's new survey. Even though motorway stops and special charging spots took the lead in 2023, supermarkets still rank in the top three. Over 35% of people said they regularly charge their electric cars at supermarkets. It's convenient because it fits into their weekly shopping routine.

Melanie Shufflebotham, COO & Co-founder of Zapmap, said: “With around 3,000 charge points now in place at supermarkets across the UK, it’s really positive to see this sustained growth at such popular charging  locations for EV drivers. Not only did the total number of supermarkets offering EV charge points rise by almost 60% last year, but we also saw significant growth in the number of those all-important rapid and ultra-rapid chargers.

“These new chargers, especially the high-powered charge points, will provide any drivers who are not able to charge at home with much-needed local options – allowing them to charge while doing the weekly shop – as well as serving drivers on longer journeys and providing facilities for a quick break or a snack. With the launch of Sainsbury’s new network Smart Charge, and MFG’s acquisition of hundreds of Morrison’s sites across the country, it's great to see this trend continuing in 2024.

"Our focus at Zapmap continues to be on providing electric car drivers with the information they need to find reliable, available charging while they're out and about. We’re looking forward to putting many more supermarket locations on the map as they are rolled out in 2024.”

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