The UK’s largest free retail charging network for electric vehicles has given away enough energy to power the homes of almost 130,000 people.

Volkswagen, Tesco and Pod Point teamed up to provide the largest free retail charging network for electric vehicle (EV) owners across the UK.

After launching at the end of November 2018, the groundbreaking partnership has now hit the landmark 200th store after installing four EV points at the Tesco superstore in Chester.

So far, enough renewable energy has been given away to power the homes in a city the size of Chester for a whole day.

Over the past 18 months, these charging points across the UK have been used 150,000 times by EV owners of all brands – filling their batteries with a combined 669 megawatts of power.

This is enough to power 1.3 million homes for one hour, or 55,750 homes for 24 hours – which should cover the electricity needs for residential properties in a town or city with a population of almost 130,000.

It is also estimated that EV drivers using the charging points have saved 374,391kg of tailpipe CO2 emissions – the equivalent of more than 1.8 million miles driven by the average new car.

Sarah Cox from Volkswagen UK said: “It’s fantastic that we’ve reached another milestone in our partnership with Tesco and Pod Point – there are now 200 stores with chargers that drivers of any electric vehicle can use for free.

“As the partnership continues, and more stores roll out new chargers, we are really proud to be breaking down barriers to EV ownership and demonstrating to people that living with an EV is easy.”

Jason Tarry, Tesco CEO UK & ROI, said: “We’re now well on our way to achieving our ambition of installing more than 2,400 EV charging bays across 600 Tesco stores.

“The 200th store is a landmark moment as we get back up and running with this programme after the Covid-19 pandemic meant we had to delay our plans.

“Providing customers with charging points offers them a sustainable choice and giving them the opportunity to charge their car for free while they shop is a little help to make this easier.”

Erik Fairbairn, Founder and CEO, Pod Point said: “Our partnership with Tesco and Volkswagen is making it easier for drivers to go electric and will help speed up the transition to EVs.

“Vehicle electrification is one of the most powerful ways to stop travel damaging the earth.”

The rollout is rapidly expanding the UK public charging network and is tackling a number of locations with limited charging facilities (less than 10 chargers per 100,000) such as in Barnsley, Wirral and Wellingborough.

This is as well as previous ‘notspots’ – areas without a single public place to charge – such as Barrow-in-Furness which now has two public charging points located at the town’s Tesco Extra store.

It is part of Volkswagen’s commitment to e-mobility.

The manufacturer has transformed its production facility in Zwickau into Europe’s largest electric vehicle factory, capable of rolling out 330,000 models per year.

It is currently producing the ID.3 which is the first vehicle based on the modular electric toolkit (MEB).

The platform was developed specifically for electric cars and will spawn a whole family of ID. models. The ID.3 1ST Edition will arrive in the UK in September.

More information on the partnership – https://www.volkswagen.co.uk/electric/tesco-partnership

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