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Trial to convert BT street cabinets to EV chargepoints will begin in Scotland

BT are to begin repurposing their old green street cabinets as EV chargepoints, having today announced that the first such installation will go live in East Lothian, Scotland in the coming weeks.

BT’s green street cabinets are a familiar piece of street furniture but they will soon become obsolete, so BT – via their start-up and digital incubation team, Etc -are looking at an innovative way of repurposing them by turning them into EV charge points.

The cabinets are currently used for providing phone services and broadband but will be decommissioned as the country is upgraded to full fibre.

The charging solution works by retrofitting the cabinets with a device that enables renewable energy to be shared to a charge point alongside the existing broadband service with no need to create a new power connection.

EV charging can be deployed to cabinets that are in-use for current broadband services, or in those due for retirement, depending on the space and power available to the unit. Once the cabinet is no longer needed for broadband, as nationwide full fibre rollout progresses, the broadband equipment is recycled, and additional EV charge points can be added. This allows re-use of existing infrastructure while deploying more charge points at pace.

Through the trials, Etc. will scope a range of different technical, commercial and operational considerations with bringing this EV charge point network online, including:

  • Technical – cabinet location, power availability, customer accessibility, digital customer experience and engineering considerations
  • Civil planning – location, local council engagement, permissions and physical accessibility
  • Commercial – public funding options, private investment, partnership, and wider financial modelling to establish a route to commercial benefit for the Group
  • Operational – as a dedicated BT Group venture or in partnership with others

It is thought that up to 60,000 of the Group’s 90,000 cabinets may be suitable for upgrades, doubling the number of public chargepoints available in the UK.

Tom Guy, CEO at Etc said: ‘Our new charging solution is a huge step in bringing EV charging 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.’

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