Streetscapes change as technology evolves. As phone booths became obsolete, most disappeared, but some were repurposed as WiFi hotspots, neighborhood libraries and other useful things.
British Telecom has thousands of boxy green metal cabinets, used to store internet and phone cabling, all over the UK, and the nationwide rollout of fiber broadband connections is making many of these boxes unnecessary for their original purpose—but many are in great locations to be converted into curbside EV charging points.
BT will soon begin installing charging points in cabinets in Scotland under a pilot program, and aims to eventually convert up to 60,000.
The UK government hopes to have some 300,000 charging points in the country by 2030, but at the moment, the vast majority of public chargers are in London. BT’s cabinets can be found throughout The Isles.
Both cabinets that are still in use and those that have been decommissioned can be used to support EV charging points, BT said. The cabinets are already connected to mains power, and engineers can retrofit them to share renewable energy to dual charge points alongside the existing broadband service.
“Harnessing existing street furniture is a great way to increase the number of public EV charging points without further adding to clutter along our footpaths,” Stuart Masson, of automotive web site The Car Expert, told the BBC. “Making this even more valuable, many of these green street cabinets are located in residential areas across the UK, including smaller villages and towns, where charging infrastructure is most severely lacking.”