BT powers up first EV charger created from green street cabinet

BT Group has activated the first EV charge point created from an upgraded on-street cabinet.

The telecoms group announced a trial in January

to repurpose the green cabinets, traditionally used to store broadband and phone cabling, into public charging devices. The first device in that trial has now gone live in East Lothian.

The site in Haddington marks the first phase of a project which could see the wider upgrade of BT Group-owned cabinets to address the shortfall in public EV charging points. BT has identified up to 4,800 street cabinets that could be used for potential upgrade in Scotland to meet increasing demand.

The Haddington on-street charger will be for the use of local residents, who will be able to charge their electric vehicles for free until the end of May as part of the pilot.

Tom Guy, managing director of Etc., the BT Group business responsible for the project, said: “We are delighted to launch the first phase of our pilots in Haddington, East Lothian working with the local council, to provide this electric vehicle charging point for local residents.

“Our research shows that 78% of petrol and diesel drivers see not being able to conveniently charge an EV as a key barrier to purchasing one. We want this to change.

“It’s critical that we all start to play our part in looking at existing infrastructure to drive innovation at speed to support government set sustainability targets. We’re proud to be partnering with local councils across the UK as part of this trial, which presents a unique opportunity to tap into existing assets to drive the important transition to electrification in the UK.”

Norman Hampshire, East Lothian Council Leader said: “We are pleased that BT Group is supplementing the wide range of public chargers in East Lothian as this allows the council to focus on its public service role of providing charging options in areas less attractive to commercial operators.”

Drivers will be able to control the charger via a new app, which has been designed and developed by BT Group in consultation with EV drivers. It includes key features motorists said they most want to see including real-time price, availability and charge speed. It also gives them the ability to start, stop and monitor charge sessions and get live updates on their vehicle’s battery level.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport at the Scottish Government, Fiona Hyslop, said: “This is an exciting and innovative development in the provision of electric vehicle charging so I’m really pleased that the first trial in the UK is taking place in East Lothian.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing more partnership working like this as we continue to help people in Scotland to make greener transport choices.”

Matt Allan

Matt is Editor of EV Powered. He has worked in journalism for more than 20 years and been an automotive journalist for the last decade, covering every aspect of the industry, from new model reveals and reviews to consumer and driving advice. The former motoring editor of, The Scotsman and National World, Matt has watched the EV landscape transform beyond recognition over the last 10 years and developed a passion for electric vehicles and what they mean for the future of transport - from the smallest city cars to the biggest battery-powered trucks. When he’s not driving or writing about electric cars, he’s figuring out how to convert his classic VW camper to electric power.

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