BT cabinet charger

BT Group has installed its first EV chargepoint powered from a street cabinet, marking the first phase of trials which could lead to the wider upgrade of cabinet units across the UK.

The first charger has been installed in East Lothian for use by local residents, who will be able to charge their EVs for free until May 31.

The charger, which is powered by a BT Group-owned cabinet traditionally used to store broadband and phone cabling, forms part of a nationwide pilot by the business’ start-up incubation hub Etc., designed to address the shortfall in public EV charging infrastructure.

The pilot will focus next on West Yorkshire, with ambitions to scale up to 600 trial sites across the UK. EV drivers can use the chargepoint by downloading the trial app from the App Store or Google Play Store.

The app has been designed and developed by the Etc. team in conjunction with EV drivers and includes the features they most want to see, such as visibility of EV chargers across the UK, real-time pricing, availability and charge speed, the ability to start, stop and monitor charge sessions via the app and to filter by connector type, kW speed and charging network.

EV owners can connect their EV to the app to get live updates on battery levels, smart estimated costs and charge times, and access their charging history.

Throughout the pilots Etc. will test elements ranging from the digital customer experience to engineering and technology choices, planning and local engagement, operational and commercial options.

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

“This government is committed to supporting people to make the switch from petrol and diesel vehicles, and our vision for Scotland’s future public EV charging network highlights the need for private sector finance and delivery to build on our significant investment in the network to date.

“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.”

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. Use of EVs supports the council’s ambitions to reduce emissions, promote sustainable travel solutions and enhance the local environment.”

Tom Guy, managing director, Etc., BT Group says: “These trials present a unique opportunity to tap into existing assets to drive the important transition to electrification in the UK, and we’re proud to be working with local councils in East Lothian and more widely across the UK at this critical stage to play our part.”