Volkswagen and Tesco have announced plans to create 2,400 new public electric vehicle (EV) charge points across the UK – with rapid or fast charging available at 600 stores by 2020.
Billed as “the largest UK retail electric vehicle (EV) charging network”, the new venture will be delivered by VW’s official charge point brand, Pod Point, and ensure that Tesco Extra and Superstore car parks will be future-proofed by the installation of publicly-available charging bays.
A statement issued by Volkswagen and Tesco said that customers will be able to charge their electric cars using a standard 7kW fast charger for free, or benefit from the use of a rapid 50 kW charger for a small cost which would be “in-line with the market rate”.
The new partnership, hailed as “monumental” by Pod Point chief executive, Erik Fairbairn, who added that the scheme represents a 14% increase in the number of public charge bays currently available across the UK.
Geraldine Ingham, head of marketing at Volkswagen UK, said: “This incredibly exciting partnership with Tesco, powered by Pod Point, underlines the scale and ambition of our electric car programme in the UK.
“Working with these partners to provide such an extensive network of EV chargers should leave no one in any doubt about the Volkswagen brand’s wholehearted commitment to an electric future.”
Jason Tarry, Tesco’s chief executive for the UK and Republic of Ireland, said: “This is part of our wider commitment to addressing the environmental challenges that matter most to our customers, colleagues and communities.
“We want to be the leading electric vehicle energy provider and to support our customers with more sustainable solutions.
“Our EV network provides a sustainable choice for our customers and charging while they shop is another little help to make their lives easier.”
Fairbairn, added: “This is a massive leap forward for the UK and a significant step in our mission to put a Pod Point everywhere you park.”
Volkswagen said that its ambitious new initiative, in partnership with Tesco and Pod Point, underlined its commitment to become a leading player in e-mobility and deliver on its pledge to sell one million electric cars a year worldwide by 2025.
The brand has some work to do.
Despite being included among 11 car manufacturers who generated the necessary 20% response rate from its retail network to be involved in the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) Electric Vehicle (EV) Dealer Attitude Survey, which was published yesterday (November 29), its results placed it in the lower reaches of the sector’s “top eleven”.
VW’s overall average across all 13 questions to retailers left it second-bottom of the pile, with a score of 4.78-out-of-10 (average: 6.47).
When asked to rate the German brand’s supply of alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs), retailers scored it 3.21 (average: 5.57), leaving it third-bottom.
An influx of new EV models is planned, however.
Volkswagen’s ID family of all-electric models, based on the Volkswagen Group’s new MEB electric platform, will begin coming to market here in the UK next year as order books open for the ID hatch – a fully electric Golf-sized model – and, from 2020, versions of the ID BUZZ MPV and ID CROZZ SUV concept cars.