Sir Terry Leahy has thrown Tesco’s muscle behind electric cars after announcing at the weekend the supermarket group will offer charging points in its car parks.

Leahy told the Sunday Times the project – the first of its kind by a UK supermarket group – would be trialled in two London stores with the potential for a national rollout if customers used the stations.

“As Arnie Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, has said, ‘You have to make it cool to be green’,” he said. “Businesses have to show how the consumer can make a difference.”

But Leahy warned against forcing consumers to be green through legislation.

“The danger is people are so taxed already that every time green is mentioned it is with a new tax that just switches people off the whole subject,” he said.

Tesco is also set to build its first zero-carbon store, in Cambridgeshire.