The start-up and digital incubation arm of BT Group, called Etc., has announced it will power its first EV charging unit built from a street cabinet traditionally used to store broadband and phone cabling.
The move could see up to 60,000 cabinets upgraded to assist in meeting on-street charging targets and assist in the EV transition for more households. A first installation was undertaken in East Lothian, Scotland, with plans for more across the coming months.
Pilot schemes will explore how the solution could be scaled to address the lack of chargers on UK roads. With new BT Group research showing that more than a third (38%) would have an EV already if charging were less of an issue, with some 53,000 public EV charge points currently available. Technical, civil planning, commercial funding options and operational challenges will be assessed.
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.
Tom Guy, CEO, Etc. at BT Group 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.”
Image courtesy of BT Group