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Discussion Starter #1
I happened to stop at the Winchester Supercharger at the local Sainsbury - it got me thinking - so when I got back I wrote to all my local supermarkets and the nearby Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock to ask them about their EV charging plans - you might all care to do the same to put some pressure on them all?

I got this reply today from Tesco that might be of interest

We currently have trial electric charge points in stores across central London, hopefully we can expand on this in the future.
Thank you for getting in touch and if there is anything further I can do to help please just let me know.
Kind regards,
Sam Jones
Tesco Customer Service
 

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The more I think about it, the more I think that supermarkets aren't a good place for charge points.

If they put in a rapid charger, at great expense, they might attract a little more passing trade, but they'll also attract a succession of "freeloaders" who will spend nothing, or barely enough to cover their electricity, never mind amortise the cost of the installation.

If they put in lower powered chargers, even 11kW, are they really that much use to anyone? Nobody drives far to a supermarket, so local customers don't need the charge; they might take it if it's free, but probably wouldn't if they had to pay.

What's the use case that I've missed that makes these useful?

FWIW, a big shopping centre is more of a destination where people spend a few hours, so a destination charger makes more sense. A rapid though, à la Ikea? Don't get me started!
 

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@timsk having been to the Winchester site and having to wait for people to return from doing their shopping, whilst I was trying to use the Superchargers for their intended purpose, I'm minded to agree with you.

Sainsbury's deal with Tesla was one of unfortunate circumstance (i.e the land grab of service stations by Dale Vince), and it looks pretty clear since they started getting access to motorway services, all investment in Sainsbury's has ceased.

Now of course a sensible pricing policy to dissuade this style of use could change and make them viable in anything like a scalable way. While it's free it just won't work.

Even if we took the "freeloaders" out of the equation. For mass adoption, I genuinely don't believe that even the Supercharger has the throughput to support a large population using them exclusively for all charging.

So yes there's the people with no home charging, but realistically we should be looking to have much higher adoption rates in the easy demographic first before trying to cover the difficult cases. The Supercharger network at it's current sites (and holes in certain areas of the country) need filling before we spend the money on these style sites IMHO.

Every car Tesla sell is more resource on the network for the next 8 years (minimum). This was clear on my last trip, where every stop I was not alone (fortunately only once getting reduced charge rates). Gone are the days where you'd be lucky to see another Tesla!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
supermarkets If they put in a rapid charger, at great expense!
Remember that in supermarket economics the cost of putting in and supporting chargers is trivial. They care about attracting people to their site vs the competition
 

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Halting the Sainsburys tie up is a shame. If you look at the south coast road, there is a lack of chargers. As far as I could make out there was(is?) one planned for the Brighton and Hove area. The Hove Sainsburys would be in an ideal position. Right near the coastal A27 and the right size for hosting a super charger.
 

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Halting the Sainsburys tie up is a shame. If you look at the south coast road, there is a lack of chargers. As far as I could make out there was(is?) one planned for the Brighton and Hove area. The Hove Sainsburys would be in an ideal position. Right near the coastal A27 and the right size for hosting a super charger.
I expect it was always a slightly difficult partnership.

I bet if you do the maths you find out that on average an SC bay in a Sainsburys car park generates less revenue than a standard bay. Someone visiting the site because they're on a roadtrip and need a charge will buy a coffee and mooch around for 30 minutes, whereas the average shopper fills a trolley. And the locals who use the SC during their regular weekly shop aren't actually generating Sainsburys any more revenue since they'd have been shopping there anyway.

Also, all the 500-comment threads on the state of the EH make one thing clear: rapid charging networks need to be reliable and scalable. A 2 bay SC isn't scalable. Tesla are now going for minimum 6 bay sites, and ideally at least 8. It may take them longer to find these, but the end result will be much better.
 

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Whatever they do, they need something along the coast road as it's not that ideal for an EV, lots of elevation changes and if you are on the M27 you won't want to divert to the Winchester SC, the traffic round there is not to cleaver at times. What makes me laugh is that there is a Service Centre at Crawley and the nearest DC chargers are both ecotricity ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
FYI - You might be interested in a response I just received from Lakeside Thurrock should any of you happen to visit

I am sorry to hear you was unable to use our car charging points.
For future use you will need to go into shop mobility to collect a coin which will then allow you to use the car charging point.
Kind Regards
Intu Lakeside Shopping Centre
(You can access Shop Mobility in Car Park 10 (also known as Car Park Blue) on Level 1)


Mgboyes - Whilst a Tesla owner might not spend a great deal, the coffee and pastries might have a healthy profit margin compared to bread / milk etc, and also bring a shopper who might not otherwise have gone to Sainsbury - they might be a Tesco shopper with an EV or a passing Tesla owner .
I am not advocating it as any form of total solution - simply that the UK roads could well be filling up with large numbers of lower cost EVs in the next couple of years who might not have home charging capability. This solution (be they superchargers, destination chargers or CHAdeMO) could help meet their needs whilst adding additional contingency to our needs for long distance travel, and due to their widespread footprint these types of site fill in the gaps where there is nothing today. We need every fast charger we can get as some trips today are difficult as Superchargers require long detours or be dependent on non Tesla Chargers whose reliability is often questionable even if you have the right RFID card.
I agree about the number of bays - it has been my experience that around 3 bays is currently the minimum viable level without too much queuing - but this will change. One only has to look at the one bay outside the IKEAs which is nearly always ICE'd or Leaf'd. The 2 bay that was at South Mimms was often oversubscribed with me occasionally having to charge on the Ecotricity CHAdeMO there. This will no doubt move over time as sites start to see queues building. I suspect many sites still view EV charging as an "experiment".
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Notice how most of the bays don't have an EV point ;)
Indeed I would estimate that on an average UK sunny day in Summer those panels would produce enough to half charge less than 9 Tesla Model S/X a day
(67kWp = approx 300 kWh/day )
 

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Bicester Village Outlet Shopping Centre has a couple of 7kW charge posts and they are used a lot because most people will spend 3 or 4 hours shopping there, by contrast the local Sainsbury's has a single 7kW post and wasn't used much until Pod Point changed the access method, seems to be used more now although there is only free parking for 2 hours.
 

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Bicester Village Outlet Shopping Centre has a couple of 7kW charge posts and they are used a lot because most people will spend 3 or 4 hours shopping there, by contrast the local Sainsbury's has a single 7kW post and wasn't used much until Pod Point changed the access method, seems to be used more now although there is only free parking for 2 hours.
The Sainsbury pod point wasn't used much because until they replaced it with a new post it had been broken for more than a year.
 

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Most super markets have huge great flat roofs which could be covered in PV to power 7-11kw charge points for customers and if they thought about it; a fleet of local electric powered home delivery vans which happen to be parked for some time at the store for loading (charging) etc.
 

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I can choose to do weekly groceries shopping at a number of different local supermarkets. If one offered reliable access to a charger, especially a rapid, they'd get my custom more often - it would be a nice fit for me and, I suspect, many city dwellers as I only need to charge weekly. Surely for the business it's comparable to selling petrol which I believe is low margin/loss leading?

A couple of people have mentioned lobbying my local Tesco for charge points, and they were both staff. Maybe one day they'll get wired up...
 

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Low margin, but with throughput not achievable with current charging solutions. So you are comparing one petrol station which can service hundreds of cars per day. vs a couple of token EV bays, which won't scale.

Unless a large proportion of the bays were wired you wouldn't be able to cope with the volume. So a slow charge post which would gain you negligible charge during a typical shop to make it unappealing or a large number of rapids and a capital investment which would never pay back.

I prefer @smartie 's solution of better on street parking facilities near where the cars are parked overnight.

Though even then we have very low penetration figures into the low hanging fruit of owners with suitable off street parking. Addressing those first, and waiting for better tech to come along in the meantime to address the harder problem would seem more sensible to me.
 
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