Tesco has introduced a fee of at least 28p for customers to charge their electric vehicles at their car parks.
The supermarket has been Britain’s largest provider of free power for electric car owners since it began rolling out charging bays at its stores in 2018.
With charging points at more than 550 of its UK stores, Tesco claims to have given customers enough electricity to travel some 86 million miles – the equivalent of looping the Earth’s surface nearly three and a half times.
But now those wishing to charge their electric cars while they shop must pay at least 28p per kilowatt hour (kWh) to do so, rising to 40p and 50p for the more powerful – and faster – 22kW and 50kW chargers respectively.
The decision to charge customers is in line with other supermarkets’ approaches, and Tesco said its tariffs are “some of the most competitive rates in the market”.
“We’ve provided more than 86 million miles worth of free charging for customers to date, and our new great value tariffs will build on this with some of the most competitive rates in the market,” a Tesco spokesperson said in a statement.
“These changes will improve access to chargers for all our customers, and enable continued investment in our charging network across the UK.”
Responding to the news, most customers appeared to believe that the fees were “inevitable”, with some even going as far as to welcome the charge in the hopes it might stop people from parking in the bays without actually using them.
As part of its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 in a global bid to limit climate breakdown, the government has announced that, from 2030, the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned in the UK.
The cost of gas and electricity has soared across Europe this year, as Russia’s war in Ukraine exacerbates supply issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
PodPoint, which alongside Volkswagen is helping Tesco to roll out more charging points, said the new charges would “enable us to continue investing in our network”.
“It’s hoped that by making these changes customers will only top up when they need to, ensuring that they make way for others once their cars are charged. We continue to work with Tesco and Volkswagen to deliver on our commitment to install EV charging at 600 Tesco stores across the UK,” a spokesperson said.