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Save on EV Charging With the Weekly Shop

Electric vehicle charge points on a tarmac car park
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Feb 01, 2023
4 minutes read

When driving an electric vehicle, it’s always useful to see if you can get any charge at the cheapest price. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can benefit from free charging at certain supermarkets. You can effectively get thousands of miles for nothing and save hundreds of pounds in the process, year on year. If you tie this every week with the shopping trip, you can start to see savings immediately.

Charging your EV at home is the cheapest way of refuelling your electric car, but you can save over £133 a year on home charging if you charge whilst doing the food shop. The research from Vanarama estimates this based on a typical food shop lasting 41 minutes, which could see an additional 1,742 miles added to your EV a year. Seeing as the UK’s average mileage is 6,800 miles, you can drive for three months of the year on this free charge, which is a fair bit when you think about it.

The price of electricity in the UK has been fixed at 34p per kWh since the Energy Price Guarantee was introduced back in October 2022. Since then, it’s meant that the price of charging your EV at home has been constant and much cheaper than using public charge points. By utilising free charging from some supermarkets, you can save £133 a year on these costs. The data from Vanarama has come from charging a Kia Niro with a 22kW charger for 41 minutes.

According to Zap-Map, the supermarkets that offer free EV charging include Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Aldi. They estimate that there are almost 4,000 free EV chargers across the UK out of roughly 36,000. Unfortunately, the majority of these are in Scotland, which means that those in England, Wales and Ireland are not as readily available. Over 82% of the free chargers are Fast chargers, while 7.2% are Rapid and 10.2% are Slow.

It’s unlikely that these EV chargers will continue to be offered for free, so it’s important to make the most of them now while you still can. Tesco, started charging 28p/kWh to charge as PodPoint started rolling out investment in their network. Some customers are now going elsewhere to utilise free charging in other places as a result. You can locate chargers, including ones that are free to use, by using Zap-Map. Some of them will be restricted to customers only, while others will still require a parking charge. It’s important to check before you start using them.

Public EV charge points are the most expensive way of charging your EV. The most exorbitant is currently 69p/kWh, which is 2.4 times as much as the value chargers at Tesco. Even though it is a small price to pay, it allows them to put the money back into the infrastructure to improve it. Currently, Tesco offers the cheapest rate, with the UK average at 53p/kWh.