UK supermarket Sainsbury’s launches EV charging business

LONDON (Reuters) – British supermarket group Sainsbury’s has launched an electric vehicle (EV) charging business, targeting over 750 ultra-rapid charging bays in over 100 store car parks by the end of 2024.

Sainsbury’s said on Friday it is hoping that users of the “Smart Charge” operation will shop its stores while their vehicles are being charged.

The grocer’s move comes days after BT, Britain’s biggest telecoms group, said it would convert the first of its street cabinets traditionally used to house cabling to an EV charging unit in a pilot that could lead to a network of 60,000 new points.

BT said its research showed a shortage of chargers on Britain’s roads was deterring some people from buying an EV, with 38% of drivers saying they would have an EV already if charging were less of an issue.

There were 53,906 EV charging points across the UK at the end of December, according to figures quoted by BT from Zapmap. The UK government wants to increase the number to 300,000 by the 2030s.

Sainsbury’s said its 150kW Smart Charge bays will allow users to fully charge their vehicle in as little as 30 minutes, providing enough power to travel up to 200 miles.

The chargers can charge faster if a driver’s vehicle battery can accept higher charger speeds, up to 300kW.

The charging technology and equipment is provided by Kempower.

On Wednesday, Sainsbury’s updated on Christmas trading.

(Reporting by James Davey; editing by David Evans)