Street cabinet used to to power an EV charging point

Monday May 6th 2024

East Lothina EV Charger Lamppost

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

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 first charger has been installed on Monkmains Road in Haddington for use by local residents, who will be able to charge their electric vehicles at no cost until 31 May as part of the pilot. 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 charge point with ease by downloading the trial app from the App Store or Google Play Store.

The app is 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, alongside 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. at BT Group will test elements ranging from the digital customer experience to engineering and technology choices, planning and local engagement, operational and commercial options. Where Zapmap data predicts that there are currently just 5,052 public EV chargers in Scotland, Etc. has identified up to 4,800 street cabinets that could be used for potential upgrade in Scotland to meet increasing demand.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Transport at Scottish Government, 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.

“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: “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. During the design of this trial we worked with BT Group to ensure the charger would be fully accessible, and that trailing cables would not get in the way of pedestrians and others using the pavement.

“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 electric vehicles 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: “With our research showing that 78% of petrol and diesel drivers see not being able to conveniently charge an EV as a key a barrier to purchasing one, and the UK behind government-set sustainability targets, it’s critical that we start looking at existing infrastructure to drive innovation at speed. 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.”

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