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Jess Kyte

Product Factory Director, Etc.

Could green street cabinets be the future of EV charging?

You may not pay much attention to them, but you’ve more than likely noticed the big green cabinets that sit up and down many UK streets on your commute to work, morning coffee run or weekend walks. You’d be forgiven for thinking that these cabinets aren’t particularly exciting – after all, their purpose usually extends to storing copper broadband and phone cabling to keep homes connected. But what if they could be a key component of electrifying British roads? 

That’s exactly what we’ve been exploring in the last six months at Etc. – and I’m excited to finally share with you today exactly what we’ve been up to. This week, Etc. is proud to share our first electric vehicle (EV) charging unit built out a of a BT Group street cabinet. 

The EV charger unveiling is the first step in the rollout of a wider trial, where we’ll be exploring the potential to repurpose up to 60,000 cabinets across the UK that are due to be decommissioned – bringing EV charging to the public kerbside.   

Decarbonising the transport sector is a key part of the UK’s journey to net-zero, but a lack of public EV charge points in the UK is holding us back from adopting EVs in bigger numbers. In fact, almost 80% of petrol and diesel drivers say that not being able to conveniently charge an EV is a barrier to getting one, our research has found. 

Today there are around 53,000 public charge points on our roads, across approximately 31,000 charging locations. By 2030 between 280,000-500,000 will be needed to meet net zero commitments, and whilst the number of chargers is slowly increasing, we need to do more to remove the barriers holding up EV adoption – accessibility, availability and usability. In fact, BT Group research shows that more than a third (38%) of people would have an EV already if charging were less of an issue, showing just how important action is if we truly want to electrify British roads (and beyond).  

We’ve been working with local city councils on this project, and are excited that our first repurposed cabinet-to-charger is set to be installed in East Lothian, Scotland. 

While the project is currently in pilot phase, we’re excited about the potential for this solution to transform EV charging in the UK, and potentially beyond. Whilst we are piloting in the UK today, our solution looks at addressing a global challenge, a challenge which will only become more prevalent as EV sales and the demand for electrification continues to grow.  

Over the next two years, Etc. will assess the technical, commercial and operational considerations around bringing our EV charge point network online in the UK. I’m delighted to say that our pioneering solution has already received an award at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where we were recognised as an Innovation Honoree for 2024 for outstanding design and engineering. 

Our goal is to create the UK’s most connected public charging network, improve usability issues, and ultimately help to drive the EV revolution. By making EV charging more accessible we hope to enable greater numbers of people to switch from their petrol and diesel cars – decarbonising our roads and moving us closer to a sustainable, net-zero future.

If you’re on the ground at CES and want to learn more, come and find us on our stand at CES Unveiled (stand 219) or at Pepcom.

If you’re a UK local authority interested in taking part in our pilots get in touch with