Electric car drivers to benefit from up to 60,000 new EV chargers with 'critical' street cabinet trial

Electric car drivers to benefit from up to 60,000 new EV chargers with 'critical' street cabinet trial

Experts react to new electric vehicle law changes

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 08/01/2024

- 10:57

There are currently just under 54,000 charging points across the UK

Tens of thousands of electric vehicle chargers could be installed in the coming years with new schemes making use of common street features.

BT Group has launched a pilot to “power up” its electric vehicle charging strategy with an EV charger built from a street cabinet traditionally used to store broadband and phone cabling.

The pilot scheme aims to extend the usefulness of near-end-of-life green street cabinets by transforming them into EV chargers.

It is hoped that the new technology could add thousands of new chargers by making use of up to 60,000 street cabinets.

Street cabinet and EV charger

The first pilot scheme will take place in East Lothian


This could help thousands of drivers across the UK have access to charging capabilities even if they do not have dedicated on-street parking.

There are currently just under 54,000 charging points across the UK, although fewer than 1,000 new devices were added between November and December.

The Government has set a target for 300,000 chargers across the UK by the end of the decade to meet the demand for the growing number of electric vehicles.

Data from BT Group found that 38 per cent of Britons said they would have an electric car already if they had more confidence in the EV charging network.

There are plans for Etc., the startup and digital incubation arm of BT, to begin installing the first chargers in East Lothian, Scotland.

It is hoped that further pilots will be rolled out across the UK over the coming months.

Six in 10 motorists believe the UK’s charging infrastructure is inadequate as more than three-quarters of petrol and diesel drivers say charging issues are holding them back from investing in electric vehicles.

Tom Guy, CEO at Etc. under the BT Group, said: “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.

“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.

“This is a key step in our mission to build products and services right now that work for the future, with positive transformation at the heart.”

The street cabinets will be retrofitted with a device that enables renewable energy to be shared with an EV charger.

This will not affect the existing broadband service and does not require the creation of a new power connection.

With the national rollout of fibre broadband already underway, the broadband equipment in the cabinets can be recycled and extra EV charge points can be added.

This will allow the re-use of existing infrastructure and older technology to be replaced with new EV chargers and help to grow the charging network across the UK.


A street junction box

Up to 60,000 junction boxes could be retrofitted


The new measures have been praised and celebrated, having been awarded an Innovation Honoree for 2024 for outstanding design and engineering at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

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