BT Group outlined an ambition to use repurposed street cabinets to fuel charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs), with an initial pilot unit set to be installed in the coming weeks.

The operator estimates up to 60,000 cabinets currently used to store broadband and telephone cabling could potentially be used as infrastructure for EV charging points in the UK, with initial test units set to assess the viability of a wide-scale project.

Following the first planned installation in Scotland by BT’s digital incubation unit Etc in the “coming weeks”, it plans to launch further pilots across the country.

It aims to assess a range of technical, commercial and operational elements from using the infrastructure including: power availability and location of the cabinets; potential civil planning issues; and funding options.

The eventual commercial charging service could be offered by a BT venture or as part of a partnership, it added.

BT explained the cabinets would be retrofitted with a device which enables energy to be shared with a charge point, while also powering any services still being served by the infrastructure.

For defunct cabinets, it noted a greater number of charging points could be supported if required space and power was available.      

The operator highlighted statistics indicating a lack of charging points was hampering EV adoption in the UK, with the country’s government aiming to increase the number from 53,000 currently to 300,000 by 2030.