Etc., the startup and digital incubation arm of telecoms firm BT Group, is building electric vehicle (EV) charging units from street cabinets which are traditionally used to store broadband and phone cabling.
The project, which is currently at trial stage, could see around 60,000 street cabinets used to charge EVs. This would enable the UK government to meet its ambition of increasing the number of charging points from the current 53,000 to 300,000 by 2030.
Etc. said the cabinets are retrofitted with a device that allows renewable energy to be shared to a charge point alongside the existing broadband service with no need to create a new power connection.
The company added that if the street cabinet is no longer needed for broadband, some the equipment can be recycled and additional EV charging points can be added.
According to research cited by the telecoms business, around 60 per cent of people thought that charging infrastructure was inadequate and 38 per cent would own an EV if the charging infrastructure was improved.
The first charging point will be located in East Lothian, Scotland, with further pilots to roll out across the UK in the coming months.
“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,” said Tom Guy, managing director at Etc. “Working closely with local councils in Scotland and more widely across the UK, we are at a critical stage of our journey in tackling a very real customer problem that sits at the heart of our wider purpose to connect for good.”