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08 January 2024, 16:02

Revolutionizing EV Charging: BT Transforms Old Street Cabinets into Eco-Friendly Power Points

In a groundbreaking move, BT is set to repurpose old street cabinets, which have long housed broadband and phone cables, into innovative electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. This initiative, launching with a pilot scheme in East Lothian, Scotland, represents a significant step in addressing the UK's growing demand for accessible EV charging infrastructure.

The project, led by BT's digital incubation arm Etc., aims to retrofit these familiar green cabinets into high-efficiency charging points. This plan was unveiled at the prestigious CES technology convention in Las Vegas, highlighting BT's commitment to sustainable solutions.

Research conducted by BT reveals a pressing need for this transformation: 60% of Britons view the current EV charging infrastructure as insufficient, and 78% of petrol and diesel drivers cite the lack of convenient charging options as a barrier to switching to electric vehicles. This initiative promises to significantly ease these concerns.

2023 marked a record year for the UK in the expansion of public EV charging facilities, with a 43% increase from the previous year, resulting in over 53,200 charging points nationwide. This expansion, however, still falls short of meeting the surging demand for EVs and the government's ambitious goal of 300,000 charging points by 2030.

Tom Guy, Managing Director of Etc., emphasizes the importance of this project in bringing EV charging closer to the community, thereby addressing key barriers faced by potential EV adopters. The initiative aligns with BT's broader goal of 'connecting for good,' focusing on sustainable and community-centric solutions.

The retrofitting process involves equipping the cabinets with a device that allows for the sharing of renewable energy to a charge point, alongside the existing broadband service, without the need for new power connections. These cabinets, nearing the end of their lifespan for their original purpose, find a new lease on life in this eco-friendly role.

The pilot project is not just a technical feat but also a strategic move to alleviate the shortage of EV chargers, especially outside London. BT's innovative approach could see up to 60,000 cabinets transformed, significantly boosting the UK's charging infrastructure.

This initiative is welcomed by automotive experts and local communities alike who laud the use of existing street furniture to expand EV charging points, particularly in residential areas and smaller communities where such infrastructure is sparse.

The Department for Transport has acknowledged the rise in public charge points, up by 44% since December 2022, and recognizes the critical role of private sector initiatives like BT's in achieving nationwide charging goals.

This innovative transformation, celebrated at the international tech trade show in Las Vegas and honored with an innovation accolade, marks a pivotal moment in the UK's journey towards a more sustainable and EV-friendly future. BT's visionary approach not only addresses a crucial infrastructure gap but also sets a precedent for repurposing technology for environmental benefits."

Notes to the editor

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