Sainsbury’s Launches Smart Charge

In a press release today Sainsbury’s announced that:

Sainsbury’s has today launched Smart Charge, a brand-new, dedicated EV charging business that will give drivers access to ultra-rapid EV charging points across its stores. This bold move illustrates the retailer’s commitment to the EV industry while providing an exciting new service for drivers.

In new research commissioned by Sainsbury’s, 80% of EV users admitted to avoiding long journeys because of not wanting to charge at public EV charging stations, describing the main frustrations as chargers being broken (40%), not enough charging bays (36%) and speed of service (33%). Designed to mitigate these frustrations, Smart Charge will initially feature over 750 cutting-edge ultra-rapid charging bays rolled out across more than 100 stores by the end of 2024, putting Sainsbury’s in the top five providers of ultra-rapid charging in the UK.

It seems as though Sainsbury’s have been doing a lot of market research. The release continues:

Ultra-rapid is the fastest type of EV charging currently available on the market but a third (32%) of EV drivers surveyed said they have yet to benefit from using it. Designed to be extremely speedy, reliable and easy to use, Sainsbury’s 150kW Smart Charge bays allow users to fully charge their vehicle in as little as 30 minutes, providing enough power to travel up to 200 miles. Many of the chargers can also charge even faster if a driver’s vehicle battery can accept higher charger speeds, up to 300kW.

Smart Charge also offers the perfect solution to the one third (32%) of EV drivers who expressed frustrations at having to wait with nothing to do at public chargers. With Smart Charge, customers can make the most of both the speedy service and the option to pop into a Sainsbury’s store to pick up some groceries or grab a coffee while they wait.

While 74% of EV users currently use multiple EV charging brands, a huge 94% said they would prefer to use just one trusted and reliable brand. When asked why, the top reasons included reliability (63%), convenience when planning long trips (54%) and awareness of cost upfront (53%).

Recognising the desire for a trusted EV charging brand in the UK and the benefits for customers of being able to charge their vehicles while doing their shopping, Sainsbury’s believes the convenience, speed and reliability of Smart Charge will represent a game changer for EV users.

Time will tell whether Smart Charge will become a “one stop shop” EV charging brand, but Sainsbury’s have made a good start in our part of the world. The map available on the Smart Charge web site shows that there are already three ultra rapid hubs available at Sainsbury’s stores in Devon:

We’ll be heading to Exeter tomorrow along the A30, the main route from up country to North Cornwall. Lisa, our venerable Nissan LEAF, will be sure to try out the single CHAdeMO charging station in Alphington and report on her findings.

[Update – January 14th]

When we arrived in the car park of the Alphington Road Sainsbury’s we had no difficulty in finding the ultra-rapid charging hub. That’s because everywhere you look there are green signs pointing in that direction. To begin with Lisa was the only EV charging on the long line of available charging posts, using the single CHAdeMO cable amongst all the other CCS2 chargers:

By the time I took the photo another car had arrived, and I hurried over to speak to the driver. He assured me that he had just driven from Orpington and had experienced no problems en route, including when charging his EV!

Here are a few more photos from the Alphington Road Sainsbury’s:

To be continued…

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