BT Group Looks to Repurpose Street Cabinets into EV Chargers

BT Group’s start-up incubation team, Etc. has announced plans to conduct technical and commercial pilots that will assess the viability of repurposing its street cabinets into electric vehicle (EV) chargers.

These cabinets are currently used for providing copper-based broadband and phone services to BT customers. However, they will ultimately be decommissioned as the UK upgrades to full-fibre broadband.

The recently announced pilots will thus assess options for using this infrastructure to scale EV charging locations across the country.

Pilots from Digital unit’s Etc. team will help the BT Group assess options and viability for repurposing its street cabinet estate to EV charging
Pilots from Digital unit’s Etc. team will help BT Group assess options and viability for repurposing its street cabinet estate to EV charging
Tom Guy, Managing Director, Etc. at BT Group said:

“With the ban on sales of internal combustion engine vehicles coming in 2030, and with only around 45,000 public charge points today, the UK needs a massive upgrade to meet the needs of the EV revolution. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect for good in a whole new way by innovating around our cabinet infrastructure. 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.”

Throughout the pilots, the Etc. team will consider a range of technical, commercial and operational factors with bringing this potential charge point network online:

  • Technical – cabinet location, power availability, customer accessibility, digital customer experience and engineering considerations
  • Civil planning – location, local council engagement and physical accessibility
  • Commercial – public funding options, private investment, partnership and wider financial modelling
  • Operational as a dedicated BT Group venture or in partnership with others

Etc.’s early projections suggest that as many as 60,000 of the Group’s 90,000 cabinets may be suitable for upgrades to EV charging points without disrupting telecommunications services.

However, decisions on scaling this programme will depend on the success of the pilots over the next two years.

The first phase of the EV charging pilots will be open to Openreach and BT Group colleagues in Northern Ireland from Autumn 2023. tIt will then be expanded to the public with more pilot locations added across the UK later in the year.

BT Group purchases 100% renewable electricity and will continue to do so throughout the EV charging pilots.

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