Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has recently announced they will be launching their own brand of electric vehicle chargers. The new business will ensure that super-fast chargers are available to shoppers across its stores, and they aim to roll out 750 chargers across 100 stores by the end of 2024.
We’re certain this will increase charging convenience for so many EV users, with charging your electric vehicle at the supermarket potentially becoming the norm…
What’s The Plan?
Sainsbury’s has set up Smart Charge in response to research they have carried out. They found that 80% of drivers avoid public charging stations, citing broken chargers as their main deterrent. Additionally, a further 94% wanted to only use one trusted charging brand because they want better reliability.
Smart Charge is already available at 20 Sainbury’s stores, and they will be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is estimated that drivers will be able to charge their car in just 30 minutes, and they are encouraged to get some shopping or take a trip to the cafe while they wait.
News On Locations
As we know, Smart Charge is already available at some Sainsbury’s locations. This is fantastic news for those looking for electric car hire in Durham, as the chargers have been installed at the Bishop Auckland superstore. There are currently four super-fast chargers at the Bishop Auckland site, with 24-hour driver support available. The Smart Charge website gives live updates as to how many of the chargers are free. You can also get live updates to your mobile whilst you’re charging your vehicle, as well as a receipt once your charge is complete.
Although Sainsbury’s have the best of intentions by launching an in-house brand of electric charging points, the new endeavour will not be without controversy. Most significantly, until now Sainsbury’s actually offered free electric vehicle charging via the PodPoint provider. Some drivers who had previously taken advantage of the free charging points may head to a different, cheaper supplier. Aldi and Asda are currently the only other UK supermarkets offering free charging at select locations. Whilst Asda matches Sainsbury’s pricing at 75p per kWh, Aldi only charges 59p per kWh. Sainbury’s will be relying on their promise of reliable, working chargers in order to ensure they don’t lose out on business.
We are also yet to see whether or not the 75p per kWh is a flat rate, or whether it will fluctuate depending on time of day. 75p per kWh is already more expensive than the average public charger, which stands at 48p per kWh, so an increase on this could see the public go for a cheaper option, especially considering the ongoing cost of living crisis.
On the whole, it does appear that Sainsbury’s will be offering convenient charging options for the entirety of the UK. It is hoped that this will instil confidence in the general public about the convenience and reliability of electric car charging stations. However, given that Sainsbury’s have now removed their free charging stations in favour of their own brand and they’re pricing their chargers on the higher end of the market, it remains to be seen how often the public will choose to use them.