Power plan

Scottish pilot for BT’s EV charging street cabinets

BT will repurpose existing street cabinets (pic: BT Group)

BT has chosen a street in East Lothian to launch a pilot scheme for its first electric vehicle charging unit built from a broadband and phone cabling cabinet.

The announcement marks the first step in the potential upgrade of up to 60,000 cabinets to help motorists’ demands for more chargers and meet government targets.

BT research shows that more than a third (38%) of motorists would have an EV already if charging was less of an issue. With only 53,000 public EV charge points currently on UK roads, the pilot marks an key step in the journey to net-zero. The UK government’s target is 330,000 by 2030.

Etc, the startup and digital incubation arm at BT, has announced its first installation location in Haddington, with further pilots to roll-out across the UK in the coming months.

BT’s recent research found that 60% of people think the UK’s EV charging infrastructure is inadequate, with 78% of petrol and diesel drivers saying not being able to conveniently charge an EV is a barrier to getting one.

The cabinets are currently used for providing copper-based broadband and phone services, and will be decommissioned as the nationwide upgrade to full fibre progresses.

Tom Guy, managing director, 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.”

The project was first suggested in July last year with the first phase of the EV charging pilots, open to Openreach and BT Group staff in Northern Ireland.

BT already purchases 100% renewable electricity and will continue this through the EV charging pilots.

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