Volkswagen has joined forces with supermarket chain Tesco and charging provider Pod Point to build what will be the largest retail network of EV chargers across the UK.

Six-hundred of the supermarket giant’s largest Extra and Superstore outlets will benefit from the announcement, with 2,400 charging bays to be created. The chargers will be available for drivers of any plug-in vehicle from all manufacturers, not just Volkswagen.

All of the points are set to be installed by 2020, with 7kW fast charging to be free, and only a small fee for those using the 50kW rapid chargers.

The news has been described as a “monumental” day for drivers of EVs, as it will increase the total number of EV chargers across the UK by 14 per cent.

Eric Fairbairn, chief executive at Pod Point – the UK’s largest provider of EV chargers, said: “This agreement is a monumental day for electric vehicle drivers. It is a massive leap forward for the UK and a significant step in our mission to put a Pod Point everywhere you park.”

“We wanted to work with a mainstream retail outlet, and didn’t want something elitist. This will now open electric cars up to the mass-market, and show that they’re not just for early adopters anymore. By working with the right partners, we can make sure we have the right number of chargers for the mass-adoption of EVs, which looks to be the way the market is heading in the next few years.”

Volkswagen has sponsored the project as the manufacturer aims to build the charging infrastructure ahead of its ambitious EV offensive in the coming years, with its all-electric ‘I.D.’ range. The first of these will be a Golf-sized model, which will go on sale next year – followed by a host of other models.

Volkswagen currently has two electric vehicles on sale – the e-Up! and e-Golf – as well as two plug-in hybrids – the Golf GTE and Passat GTE.