BT’s launches innovative project to convert street cabinets into EV charging points

  • BT’s startup, Etc., plans to convert 60,000 street cabinets into EV charging points across the UK.
  • The innovative pilot program, starting in East Lothian, Scotland, addresses the national EV charging shortfall.
  • Etc.’s global CES-recognized solution retrofits cabinets, overcoming EV adoption barriers and contributing to sustainability.

BT startup repurposes street cabinets into modern EV charging points

BT’s startup, Etc., is transforming traditional street cabinets into electric vehicle (EV) charging points across the UK. The initiative aims to repurpose up to 60,000 near-end-of-life green street cabinets. These old electrical boxes will find a new lease of life, addressing the national shortfall in EV charging infrastructure.

The pilot program, kicking off in East Lothian, Scotland, marks a critical step in meeting government sustainability targets. The first charger is expected to be installed in the coming weeks, signalling swift progress.

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A staggering 60% of people in the UK express dissatisfaction with the current state of EV charging infrastructure. Etc.’s plan emerges as a strategic response to a significant barrier hindering the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. Recent research from BT Group indicates that 38% would already own an EV if charging were less of an issue.

Etc.’s charging solution involves retrofitting cabinets with a device facilitating renewable energy sharing for EV charging alongside existing broadband services. This clever approach requires no new power connection, allowing for swift deployment of EV charging points.

The trials will assess various technical, commercial, and operational aspects. These include cabinet location, power availability, customer accessibility, and digital customer experience. Civil planning considerations such as local council engagement, permissions, and physical accessibility are also on the agenda. The project will explore public funding options, private investment, and potential partnerships to establish a route to commercial benefit.

Tom Guy, Managing Director of Etc. at BT Group, commented:

“Our new charging solution is a huge step in bringing EV charging to the kerbside and exploring how we can address key barriers customers are currently facing. Working closely with local councils in Scotland and more widely across the UK, we are at a critical stage of our journey in tackling a very real customer problem that sits at the heart of our wider purpose to connect for good.

This is a key step in our mission to build products and services right now that work for the future, with positive transformation at the heart.”

While the UK government aims to increase the number of charge points from 53,000 to 300,000 by 2030, Etc.’s innovative approach offers a scalable solution to supplement this ambitious target. As the pilot unfolds in the UK, the global challenge of EV charging infrastructure is highlighted, with the US having only 160,000 public EV chargers serving over 2.4 million electric vehicles.

Etc.’s endeavour will revolutionise the EV charging landscape. It’s a new method of leveraging existing infrastructure to provide a convenient and sustainable solution. The trials will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of EV infrastructure. Following the massive success of ubitricity’s lamppost chargers, these options based on pre-existing infrastructure are becoming the way of the future for on-street EV charging points.

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