BT Group will convert old street cabinets into EV chargers

According to BT Group, obsolete green street cabinets will be converted into electric vehicle (EV) recharge stations.

Many of the metal containers, which were once utilised to store phone and internet cables, are nearing the end of their useful lives.

As part of a pilot initiative, the initial converted cabinet will be installed in Scotland in the coming weeks. BT anticipates the conversion of up to 60,000, which would assist in addressing the electric vehicle outlet shortage.

The government aims to increase the number of charging stations from over 50,000 at present to 300,000 by 2030; however, according to data from Zapmap, London presently houses nearly one-third of all charging stations in the United Kingdom.

There have been grievances lodged by individuals regarding the scarcity of charging terminals in certain regions, as well as the malfunctioning or unreliability of some of them.

BT's pilot initiative will investigate the viability of expanding this solution to tackle the dearth of outlets on UK roadways, a concern identified by motoring organisations as impeding the progress of the electric vehicle revolution in the country.

Both decommissioned cabinets and those that continue to provide broadband to individual households can be utilised to support the new EV charging points.

The devices presently comprise obsolete technology that will soon become obsolete due to the widespread implementation of full fibre broadband connections across the nation.

Since the cabinets are already connected to a power source, engineers will have the ability to retrofit them with a device that allows renewable energy to be transferred to a charge point in conjunction with the existing broadband service, without the necessity of establishing a new connection.

Each cabinet of the green containers that are slated for decommissioning will contain a single charge point, for a total of two charging outlets. Additionally, they are equipped with a battery reserve, which ensures that the installation process will not cause any disruption to existing broadband services.

As the decommissioned receptacles approach, additional charging ports may be installed. Initial experiments will be conducted in East Lothian, followed by additional locations throughout the United Kingdom in the coming months.

According to BT Group's start-up and digital incubation arm, Etc. CEO Tom Guy, this solution represents a "huge stride" in overcoming the obstacles that customers encounter.

"By collaborating extensively with local councils in Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole, we have reached a pivotal juncture in our endeavour to address a tangible consumer issue that forms the core of our overarching mission to foster positive connections," he explained.

The Car Expert's Stuart Masson expressed his support for the initiative.

"Instead of adding to the congestion along our footpaths, increasing the number of public EV charging stations by utilising existing street furniture is an excellent idea," he explained.

"This is further enhanced by the fact that a significant number of these green street cabinets are situated in residential regions of the United Kingdom, including smaller towns and villages, where charging infrastructure is most critically deficient."

The announcement is being made by BT at a global technology trade expo in Las Vegas. The endeavour has been bestowed with an innovation award at the Consumer Electronics Show in recognition of its exceptional design and engineering.