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22 March 2024, 15:50

Electric Vehicle Charging Cuts at Asda: Impact on Customer Convenience and Supermarket Competition

The Issa brothers, recognized for their wealth, have recently decreased the availability of electric car charging stations at Asda locations, leading to customer dissatisfaction. Those accustomed to charging their vehicles while shopping have encountered fewer options, with the number of chargers at Asda supermarkets dropping significantly. Originally hosting 165 chargers at the start of 2023, this number has been reduced by more than two-thirds, leaving only 46 operational chargers across the chain. This change is a result of Asda ending its collaboration with the electric vehicle charging company BP Pulse. Currently, a mere 2% of Asda’s properties, equivalent to 22 stores, offer charging facilities.

This move positions Asda as the only supermarket chain to reduce its electric vehicle charging facilities at a time when competitors like Tesco and Morrisons are enhancing their investment in this area. The reduction in charging points comes amidst financial challenges faced by Asda since its acquisition by Mohsin and Zuber Issa, along with TDR Capital, in 2021. Despite the Issa brothers’ ownership of the EG Group petrol station network and a deal with Tesla to install chargers at their petrol stations across the UK and Europe, Asda’s parking areas are not expected to benefit from this arrangement.

The supermarket is reportedly looking into alternatives to compensate for the lost charging services. Contrastingly, the industry trend among supermarkets is to significantly increase the availability of electric vehicle charging options in their car parks to attract and retain customers. For instance, Sainsbury’s has committed £70 million to install chargers at 70 more stores, building upon existing facilities at 27 locations. This initiative allows customers to charge their cars during shopping trips and monitor the process via smartphone.

Furthermore Tesco expanded its charging network by 61% last year, reaching a total of 1,305 chargers. Morrisons also saw significant growth, more than doubling its number of chargers to 413. The supermarket sector added 1,195 new charging devices in the last year, many offering faster charging capabilities. This expansion addresses concerns over the availability of public charging points, which is cited by 60% of drivers as a deterrent to choosing electric vehicles. The decrease in Asda’s charging facilities raises concerns about its competitiveness and ability to attract customers, especially when other supermarkets are advancing in this area.

Notes to the editor

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