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BT’s startup team to repurpose street cabinets for EV charging

Image credit: Mark Heath / Shutterstock

BT has announced its startup and digital incubation team, called Etc., is conducting a project to transform 60,000 street cabinets into electric vehicle (EV) charging points.

The project, which will take place over the next two years, will repurpose BT’s fleet of cabinets, currently used for copper-based broadband and phone services, into a major new network of vehicle charging spots.

BT said the project will provide critical insight into the viability of scaling EV charging to more locations.

“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,” said Tom Guy, managing director of Etc. at BT Group.

“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.”

The project will launch initially in Northern Ireland in autumn 2023 and will be expanded to other locations across the UK later in the year.

BT currently has 90,000 street cabinets deployed across the UK. Etc.’s current projection is that two-thirds of these can be decommissioned and repurposed for EV charging.

“We’re seeing more and more ambitious commitments from corporates to grow their EV fleets in the coming years,” said Helen Clarkson, CEO at Climate Group.

“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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