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Tesco, Volkswagen & Pod Point - The Details

Posted by Roseanne: Dec 05, 2018 4 min read

Wow. Thanks everyone! We're overwhelmed with the positive messages. Here’s a more in-depth look at what this new partnership means for EV drivers.

Update: As of November 1 2022, Tesco chargepoints are no longer free to use. Customers should check the price of individual chargepoints in the Pod Point App.

We’ll start by addressing a few questions we’ve been asked:

1. Some think the chargers are just for VW

The chargepoints are universal. Working for basically all mainstream plug-in vehicles, including Teslas, they’re not exclusive to VW drivers. To find out whether your car is compatible with CHAdeMO or CCS 50kW DC connectors, please check our online guides.

2. Contactless payment for rapid chargers

We are happy to confirm that contactless payment will be available on all 50kW rapid charger units that are installed in the Tesco roll out! For those, like me, who enjoy using the Pod Point app, you will still be able to use this option.

3. “But what about ICEing?”

We hear you! To ensure the Pod Points offer drivers maximum benefit, we’ll continue to work closely with Tesco throughout the roll out to ensure that these bays are reliably available for the charging of electric cars.

4. "When and where?"

We'll have more details on the timings and locations of the installs in the coming weeks. Make sure you keep checking back on the blog for updates.

Now let's talk about why it's so exciting...

Big wins are great for any business, and by any measure the Tesco announcement is BIG. 2,400 charging sockets nationwide, a significant expansion of our 50kW offering and a partnership with the likes of Tesco and Volkswagen. All fabulous stuff. But, in truth, it is the way the offering fits together that is probably the most satisfying.

1. Tesco is likely to be where you were going anyway

If you’ve ever seen a talk from Erik, you may have seen our “Charging Ecosystem” diagram. The main point is that drivers will mostly charge where they were going anyway, in the ~95% of the time that their car is parked doing nothing.

With Tesco stores representing the destination or origin of a significant proportion of UK car journeys Tesco stores are a great “place you were going anyway”.

2. Easily 'top up charge' a day’s driving during your weekly shop, for free

The more charging that is available everywhere you park, the more viable EV motoring is for all including those without home charging. But, as electric cars start to come to market with >200 mile ranges, it means those with home and/or work charging don’t need to top up charge at <2 hour destinations. They can get by with home, work and high powered en route charging for long journeys. They can, but adding destination top up into the mix increases the convenience and utility of driving an EV (as well as diluting the grid load around the clock), but only on the proviso that it is:

A. Easy to use
B. Affordable (compared to home)

Achieve these two and drivers will top up at destination chargers not out of need, but because they can. Your car is parked at the shop doing nothing anyway, why not add range? And it needn’t be enough to “fill” your car - quite literally, “every little helps”.

Stat: On a 7kW Pod Point you can put the UK’s approximate ~average daily mileage 21 miles into your car in a typical 45-60 min shop (depending on your car’s efficiency). For free!

A. Easy to use

We believe our plug-in, walk away and confirm Pod Point app system remains the most simple system in the market. Instant access. Very simple app. No membership RFID/ongoing subscription to send off for/commit to (a deterrent to first usage broadly equivalent to chaining a ravenous alligator to the charger). 15 minute free emergency charge in extremis.

B. Affordable

The Pod Point model has always been to allow our “hosts” to set their own fee for charging. While some levy a fee, many make it free, seeing the costs as a price well worth paying to attract EV driving customers to their business. Clearly Tesco are choosing to make the 7kW charging provision a free amenity, which we think is a smart move.

3. Affordable rapid charging

Sometimes it’s better to get more charge in a shorter period, sometimes you have to. Sadly it is hard to find enough electrical capacity (hence we can’t offer this at all 600 Tesco stores) and expensive, making it necessary to levy a usage fee. Thankfully with the Tesco roll out we can offer 50kW DC charging at competitive market rates with no need for memberships or subscriptions. Furthermore, a tap of a contactless card and you’re paid (or app for those who prefer).

So there you have it. Much to be excited about as we look to set off on the Tesco roll out. We will keep you posted on dates and locations of the chargers in the coming weeks.

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