Best supermarkets to charge your electric car for free and cheap.

Leicester wants to provide Rapid charging stations for electric cars for free. Subscribe to Electric Vehicle News Bitesize Podcast.

A Tesco car park in Leicester will provide fast charging points for electric vehicles in an environmentally friendly way, making it easier for shoppers switching from petrol and diesel cars.

The supermarket giant said it was targeting stores in the city as part of a nationwide expansion of its free car charging network.

With large stores in Braunston Gate, Beaumont Leys and Hamilton in Leicester, the company has expanded its network to 500 locations across the UK. Its expansion is aimed specifically at areas where fast-charging technology was previously unavailable, including the Leicester store.

Pod Point works with Tesco and car manufacturer Volkswagen to install the charging points. It launched its network in 2019 and has given drivers more than 41 million miles of free electric driving.

From April last year to the end of February this year, the network has grown from 500,000 free charging sessions to more than 2 million. Other areas benefiting from improvements include Wirral, Southend-on-Sea, Bolton, Walsall and Port Talbot in Wales.

Compared to driving the same route in a typical internal combustion engine car, this milestone reduces CO2 emissions by 8,786 tons. Because the grid uses only renewable energy.

Tesco says this is equivalent to the actual amount of carbon dioxide that 900,000 trees absorb each year. The free Rapid charging points are designed to provide customers “a safe, reliable and convenient way to charge electric vehicles”. Of the more than 1,000 chargers in 500 Tesco supermarkets in the UK, 100 are Rapid chargers.

While only 7kW and 22kW chargers are currently free to use, the network’s 50kW fast chargers are available at competitive prices to customers who need multiple recharges.

Tesco said it was on track to meet its initial target of rolling out charging points in 600 Tesco stores in the UK. Jason Tarry, chief executive of Tesco UK and Republic of Ireland, said: “We are delighted to see the growing momentum to introduce free Electric Vehicle charging in our retail stores.”

“The network can help customers who need to save time and money when shopping,” he added. “This latest milestone underscores the entire company’s commitment to our goal of making the UK carbon neutral by 2035.”

Volkswagen UK’s Sarah Cox added: “We want to make carbon neutral transport accessible to everyone. That’s why we want to make sure these chargers are not just for Volkswagen, but for any brand of electric car. More than 220 models from 40 different brands already benefit from free green charging when shopping.”

Erik Fairbairn, Pod Point founder and CEO, said: “The partnership is continuing to make a significant and very visible contribution to the UK’s charging infrastructure, giving drivers the confidence to transition to electric. Pod Point’s mission is to put an EV charge point everywhere you park and we’re delighted to see so many more shoppers up and down the country reap the benefits as we continue the rollout.”

According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 190,727 pure electric vehicles were registered in the UK in 2021. This is a 76.3% increase from 2020 as the UK government aims to stop the selling of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.

When it comes to charging your Electric Vehicle for free, most free charging points are 7kW fast chargers, according to Zap-Map, which lists over 25,000 public charging points in the UK.

This typically adds about 30 miles to your battery life for every hour of charging.

An easy way to find a free Electric Vehicle charging station is to click the “Free” filter under the “Payments” option on and search for the location closest to you.

While there are many different providers of electric vehicle charging stations, such as BP Pulse, Osprey, and GeniePoint, roughly one charging station is available every second in the Pod Point network for free.

Tesco has partnered with Pod Point to provide free charging bays in car parks at over 450 of its Extra and Superstore branches.

Sainsbury’s has confirmed all its Electric Vehicle charging points (7kW) are free for customers when shopping in-store. 

Premier Inn is rolling out two free Electric Vehicle charging points at its 300 locations over the next three years.

There is one charging unit with two connectors at the Springfields Outlet Shopping Centre and Festival Gardens car park in Spalding.

The National Trust. There are Electric Vehicle charging points at 36 locations across England and Wales, and the vast majority, with a couple of exceptions, according to National Trust, are free.

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Leicester wants to provide fast charging stations for electric cars for free.
Leicester wants to provide fast charging stations for electric cars for free.