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BT installs its first EV charger converted from street cabinet

BT Group’s startup incubation hub, Etc., has successfully installed its inaugural EV charging point in East Lothian, powered by a repurposed green street cabinet. 

BT’s green street cabinets are traditionally used for broadband and phone cabling, but last year the company explored the possibility of turning many of its street cabinets into electric vehicle charging points. Now it has completed its first conversion and made the EV charger live to members of the public. 

This first installation in Haddington is available for local residents to use free of charge during the pilot phase, which runs until 31. Users can access the charger by using a specially designed trial app, available on both the App Store and Google Play. The app, crafted in consultation with EV drivers, features functionalities such as real-time information on charge status, costs, and the availability of charge points across the UK.

This is just the first step in BT’s plans for Scotland, with the company having identified around 4,800 street cabinets in the country that could potentially undergo upgrades to meet the growing demand for EV chargers.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Transport at Scottish Government, expressed enthusiasm for the UK’s first trial, stating, “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.”

Tom Guy, Managing Director of Etc. at BT Group, added, “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.”

Norman Hampshire, East Lothian Council Leader, concluded, “East Lothian Council has a strong track record of supporting innovative vehicle charging solutions in public places to accelerate the transition to an electric future.”

The next phase of BT Group’s Electric Vehicle charging trial will focus on West Yorkshire, with plans to expand the trial to up to 600 sites across the UK.

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