Etc., the startup and digital incubation arm of BT Group, said it would power up its first EV charging unit built from a street cabinet traditionally used to store broadband and phone cabling.
This was the first step in the rollout of new technical trials, exploring the potential to upgrade up to 60,000 cabinets in the UK.
Developed to help solve EV charging infrastructure needs by repurposing existing street furniture, the pilots will explore how this could be done to address the lack of chargers on UK roads.
New BT Group research shows 38% would have an EV already if charging were less of an issue but there are only 53,000 public EV charge points on UK roads.
First location is in East Lothian, Scotland, with further pilots planned for coming months.
The UK government aims to increase the number of charge points from 53,000 today to 300,000 by 2030 but access to charging is already creating a significant barrier to EV purchase for many.
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The research found 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 pilots retrofit the cabinets with a device that enables electricity 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 copper 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 added.