UK supermarket, Sainsbury’s, enters the EV charging arena with launch of Smart Charge

  • Sainsbury’s launches Smart Charge for fast EV charging at 20 locations, addressing user concerns.
  • Plans for 750+ charging bays by 2024 position Sainsbury’s among top UK providers.
  • Smart Charge, using 100% renewable energy, aligns with Sainsbury’s Net Zero goal, earning government praise.

Sainsbury’s is facing the future with Smart Charge, offering ultra-rapid EV charging at over 20 locations initially

Sainsbury’s has launched Smart Charge, a dedicated ultra-rapid EV charging service available at over 20 of its locations. The service will address the concerns of the 80% of drivers who avoid long journeys due to charging anxiety.

Designed to boost confidence in public EV charging, Smart Charge comes on the heels of insightful research commissioned by Sainsbury’s. The study reveals that 94% of EV drivers prefer using a single trusted brand. 63% emphasised reliability as a top priority . Broken chargers (40%), insufficient charging bays (36%), and slow service (33%) were found to be the primary frustrations faced by EV users at public charging stations.

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The ambitious plan for Smart Charge includes over 750 ultra-rapid charging bays at more than 100 Sainsbury’s locations by the end of 2024. This move positions the retailer among the top five ultra-rapid charging providers in the UK. The 150kW Smart Charge bays offer a quick and reliable full charge in just 30 minutes. The charge can cover up to 200 miles. Users can conveniently make use of the charging time by shopping or grabbing a coffee at Sainsbury’s stores.

The UK government is supporting this initiative. Anthony Browne, Minister for Technology and Decarbonisation, said: 

“Businesses play a crucial role in the delivery of EV infrastructure, so it’s great to see Sainsbury’s embracing ultra-rapid technology which will benefit EV drivers.

Together with industry we’ve supported the installation of over 52,600 chargepoints across the UK, an increase of 44% from last year.”

Smart Charge addresses the one-third of EV drivers who expressed frustration at waiting with nothing to do at public chargers. With spacious and accessible bays open 24/7, it provides a solution to this common concern. Furthermore, it aligns with the 74% of EV users who use multiple charging brands but would prefer one trusted, reliable brand.

Sainsbury’s commitment extends beyond customer satisfaction, with a keen eye on environmental responsibility. The points are powered by 100% renewable electricity. This contributes to the retailer’s broader goal of reaching Net Zero in its operations by 2035.

Smart Charge stands out for being the first EV charging business fully owned and managed end-to-end by a UK supermarket. This move positions Sainsbury’s as a key player in advancing the uptake of EVs in the UK. They’re setting the bar for supermarket brands and further contributing to the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

Patrick Dunne, Sainsbury’s Director of Property, Procurement & EV Ventures, said: 

“With our new network of easy-to-use and reliable charging points conveniently located in our supermarkets, Smart Charge will make a real difference to EV drivers in the UK. As one of the few providers to be focusing exclusively on cutting-edge ultra-rapid 150kW+chargers, customers can be in and out in as little as half an hour and avoid waiting longer with less powerful alternatives. What’s more, they can even grab a coffee or pick up some groceries while they’re there.

We’re committed to reducing our carbon emissions and reaching Net Zero in our operations by 2035 and offering a national EV charging service forms part of this pledge. Our new charging points are powered by the same 100% renewable electricity that powers the rest of our estate.”

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