BT to repurpose street cabinets into charging points
BT Group’s start-up and innovation hub, Etc. has announced that it is to launch pilots across the UK which will transform decommissioned street cabinets into electric vehicle charging points.
Currently used for copper-based broadband and phone services, the cabinets will be decommissioned as the UK-wide upgrade to full-fibre progresses.
The first phase of the repurposing pilot will take place in Northern Ireland this autumn. If successful, it will be expanded to the public with more pilot locations added across the UK later in the year.
The announcement follows the UK government’s commitment to grow the number of UK charge points from 45,000 to 300,000 by 2030 and will play a key role in exploring how existing infrastructure can be repurposed to accelerate decarbonisation.
During the trials, the team is expected to analyse a range of different technical, commercial and operational considerations with bringing this EV charge point network online, including cabinet location, power availability, customer accessibility, digital customer experience and funding options.
The start-up’s projections suggest that, in time, as many as 60,000 of the Group’s 90,000 cabinets may be suitable for upgrades to EV charging points.
BT has reassured that neither the trials nor any potential scaling of the new EV charge network would present any change or disruption to the telecommunications services supported from the cabinets.
“The UK needs a massive upgrade to meet the needs of the EV revolution,” said Tom Guy, managing director, Etc. at BT Group.
“The pilots are critical for the team to work through the assessment and establish effective technical, commercial and operational routes to market over the next two years.”
Helen Clarkson, CEO at Climate Group, added : “ We’re seeing more and more ambitious commitments from corporates to grow their EV fleets in the coming years. Programmes like BT Group’s are an incentive for other businesses and drivers to go electric.
“But we need the UK government to play its part – wider availability of charge points right across the country, not just in London, will help build confidence that switching to an EV is the right option.”
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