East Lothian powers up EV charge through telecoms exchange

The BT Group trial could help alleviate long-standing concerns over the slow expansion of plug-in vehicle infrastructure.

A new electric vehicle [EV] charge point has gone online in East Lothian, Scotland, in the first phase of testing a promising new technology solution. If successful, it could see telecommunications ‘cabinets’ already installed across the UK upgraded so they can be used to refuel cars and vans. 

Running until 31st May 2024, local residents can charge their EVs at no cost in a bid to gauge effectiveness and efficiency. Once this trial has completed, the project will focus on West Yorkshire, England, with ambitious plans to quickly scale up provision to around 600 sites nationwide. If that happens, it could offer a huge breakthrough in the slow rate at which the network is expanding

‘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,’ said Norman Hampshire, East Lothian council leader. ‘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.’

A new app to support the technology is now available through the App Store and Google Play. Developed by Etc at BT Group, the team have identified a potential 4,800 street level cabinets in Scotland alone which could be used for this new purpose. If brought online, these would almost double the number of charge points on the country registered with Zapmap, one of Britain’s leading location-based service helping drivers find available charge stations to ‘refuel’ their vehicles.

‘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,’ added Tom Guy, managing director, Etc, BT Group. ‘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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