STREET cabinets traditionally used to store broadband and phone cabling are to be transformed into electric vehicle (EV) charging units.

Etc., the startup and digital incubation arm at BT Group, is planning to rollout the concept across the country.

The first installation will be in Haddington.

The announcement marks the first step in the rollout of new technical trials, exploring the potential of upgrading up to 60,000 cabinets to help meet Government sustainability targets and decarbonise the transport system in the UK.

Tom Guy, managing director of Etc. at 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.”

Developed to help solve EV charging infrastructure needs by repurposing existing street furniture, the pilots will explore how the action could be scaled to address the lack of chargers on UK roads.

With new BT Group research showing that more than a third (38 per cent) of respondents would have an electric vehicle if charging were less of an issue, the pilot is said to mark an important step in the journey to net zero.

Through the trials, Etc. will scope a range of different technical, commercial and operational considerations in bringing the EV charge point network online.

The charging solution works by retrofitting the cabinets with a device that enables renewable energy to be shared to a charge point alongside the existing broadband service, with no need to create a new power connection.

EV charging can be deployed to cabinets that are in use for current copper broadband services, or in those due for retirement, depending on the space and power available to the unit.

Once the cabinet is no longer needed for broadband, as full fibre rollout progresses, the broadband equipment is recycled, and additional EV charge points can be added.

This allows reuse of existing infrastructure while deploying more charge points at pace.

BT was unable to tell the Courier where exactly in Haddington the first cabinet would be.