Tesco and Volkswagen are joining forces to develop an electric vehicle (EV) charging network, powered by Pod Point, that they claim will be the largest in the UK.

In the next three years more than 2,400 charging bays will be placed across 600 Tesco stores, with customers able to charge their EV using a free 7kW charger or pay a small fee to use a faster 50kW charger. The amount charged will be in line with the current market rate.

Both companies have set out ambitious plans in terms of the EV market. Tesco wants to offer its customers an alternative to fossil fuels and, building on its commitment to 100% renewable electricity (made in May 2017), the supermarket chain supports a transition to a low-carbon, clean air UK.

Volkswagen has set out to sell one million electric vehicles, worldwide, by 2025, with Geraldine Ingham, Head of Marketing at Volkswagen UK commenting: “This incredibly exciting partnership…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.”

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis spoke on behalf of the organisation: “For more than a year we have been calling for charging infrastructure in places where drivers are likely to spend extended periods of time, such as supermarkets and public car parks, so we applaud all the parties involved in agreeing this deal.”

“The fact that a choice of charging speeds will be offered at Tesco sites will also likely suit the needs of a lot of electric and plug-in hybrid car drivers. It will mean they can receive a welcome boost of electric charge for minimum fuss while they do their regular shop, with some benefiting from completely free charging.”

“Strong and easy-to-use charging infrastructure, alongside the development of battery technology and lower upfront costs, is vital in accelerating the take-up of electric vehicles.”

Dennis also mentioned that the charging points would alleviate drivers’ concerns of running out of charge before a journey’s completion.

Jason Tarry, Tesco CEO UK & ROI, stated: “As the UK’s biggest fuel retailer, we have a role to play in supporting the transition to a low carbon future and improving air quality.

“We know our customers are increasingly moving towards electric vehicles, offering charging while they shop is another little help to make their lives easier.”