BT Group to repurpose street cabinets for EV charging infrastructure


Author: Mankirat Kaur

Etc., the startup and digital incubation arm at BT Group, has unveiled its initiative to transform green street cabinets into electric vehicle (EV) charging points.

In an effort to bolster the UK's EV charging infrastructure, the pilot project aims to repurpose up to 60,000 street cabinets, a move addressing the current national shortfall in EV charging availability.

The announcement comes as a response to the country's EV charging infrastructure, with 60% of the UK population expressing dissatisfaction. Etc. seeks to alleviate this issue by utilising existing street furniture to create a network of EV charge points.

The first installation is scheduled for East Lothian, Scotland, in the coming weeks, marking the commencement of technical trials exploring the feasibility of this innovative solution. BT Group's recent research revealed that 38% would already own an electric vehicle if charging concerns were minimised, highlighting the urgency of addressing this obstacle on the journey to achieving net-zero emissions.

As part of the trials, Etc. will assess various technical, commercial, and operational aspects of integrating this EV charging network. This includes considerations such as cabinet location, power availability, customer accessibility, digital customer experience, civil planning, public funding options, and potential partnerships.

While still in its early stages, the initiative has gained international recognition, receiving an Innovation Honouree award at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for outstanding design and engineering. The solution involves retrofitting cabinets with devices that enable the sharing of renewable energy to power EV charge points alongside existing broadband services.

Tom Guy, Managing Director of Etc. at BT Group, emphasised the project's significance, stating, "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. 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."