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Supermarket charging stations plagued by connection issues

Taking a sample of 20 major UK cities, excluding London, and only looking at supermarket sites within a 12 mile radius of the city centre, LeaseLoco found a large number of charging devices were out of order.
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23 January 2023

SHOPPERS hoping to charge their electric cars while doing their weekly grocery shop could be left frustrated, with new research revealing that many supermarket chargers aren’t working.

LeaseLoco used electric vehicle (EV) charging points app Zap-Map to analyse the operational status of chargers located on site at the seven major supermarkets; Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose.

Taking a sample of 20 major UK cities, excluding London, and only looking at supermarket sites within a 12 mile radius of the city centre, LeaseLoco found a large number of charging devices were out of order.

Across the seven supermarkets, where the charger status was live and available on Zap-Map, more than two-out-of-five (43%) charging devices had connection issues.

Morrisons had the most comprehensive charger status data on Zap-Map and LeaseLoco found only half (50%)of the chargers were working on the dates* in January when the research was conducted.

For example, of the 13 EV chargers on site at the four Morrisons stores within a 12 mile radius of Swansea, Zap-Map status data indicated that 12 were out of order. While only two out of 12 chargers were working at the four Morrisons stores within a 12 mile radius of Portsmouth.

Asda had the highest percentage of working EV chargers at 74%, based on charging stations where there was available status data on Zap-Map.

Although Tesco sites had a lower percentage of working chargers than Morrisons at 49%, this was based on fewer devices, as in many cases online status data wasn’t available for Tesco charging stations, and these chargers couldn’t be considered.

This only adds to the frustration for car owners, as it means it may not be possible to know in advance if particular chargers are working or not, or if they are available to use. For example, across all Aldi stores considered in this research, there was no live status data.

The following table shows the percentage of working EV chargers on site at the seven major supermarket chains, looking at stores in 20 major UK cities and within a 12 mile radius of the centre:

 

Supermarket

% of working EV chargers

Aldi

Not enough data

Asda

74%

Lidl

60%

Morrisons

50%

Sainsbury’s

60%

Tesco

49%

Waitrose

68%

 

John Wilmot, Chief Executive of LeaseLoco, said“Supermarkets are popular locations for charging, with the average person spending almost an hour in a store doing the grocery shopping. But this research shows that pinning your hopes on your local supermarket to top up your car battery could be a frustrating experience.

“It also highlights the challenges of relying on a public charging infrastructure – including charging stations at supermarkets – that is not 100% reliable and where demand outstrips supply.

“Although some car owners will use public chargers infrequently, as they only need their vehicles for short distances and can charge at home, many will need to use the public network to keep their cars on the road.

“As more people switch to electric vehicles, the need for a fit-for-purpose charging infrastructure will intensify. And if we’re to avoid seeing a repeat of the scenes witnessed over Christmas, with drivers queuing for hours to charge their EVs, this has to be a priority.”

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