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BT Repurposing Boxes To Fast-Track EV Charger Installations

The green boxes we see on our street corners are designed to be discreet and to blend into the background. We often only notice them when an engineer is sat in front of them with the doors open and their head in amongst a wild array of circuits and wires. These green boxes are owned by BT and contain broadband and phone cabling, but BT have announced that they are starting a programme of repurposing them to turn the boxes into EV chargers, to speed-up the roll out of important EV charger infrastructure across the UK.

Although there has been a 44% increase in EV chargers in the public domain since December 2022, it is believed that a shortage of available chargers is still the major hindrance to the EV market expanding as we need it to. The UK Government is committed to having 300,000 EV chargers on the streets by 2030, but currently one third of the available chargers are in London alone, and hence there is a widespread shortage elsewhere in the UK. So this recent announcement from BT has been widely welcomed. 


Re-purposing defunct technology

Many of BT’s green boxes are in line to be decommissioned, because they contain defunct and outdated technology as a result of a widespread installation of full fibre broadband, and they can easily be retro-fitted by engineers to provide on-street EV charge points (two charging sockets per box) because they are already connected to a power source and so don’t need a new connection. Even where the boxes are still in use for broadband connections, they can accommodate an EV charger alongside the existing wiring installation.

It is hoped this will result in a quicker and easier installation of new EV chargers, particularly as it doesn’t further clutter up pavements with more street furniture, and this will benefit some of the smaller towns and villages in the UK where there is currently minimal charging infrastructure. Using BT boxes in this way will greatly improve the availability of on-street charging, which is currently limited compared to public charge points at service stations, in car parks, in workplaces and in private homes.     

BT hope to convert up to 60,000 green boxes in the UK, which highlights the need to improve the understanding of EV charger installation and maintenance. It is essential that EV chargers are installed and commissioned in line with regulatory requirements and that they are inspected and tested as part of a routine preventive maintenance programme. Given these will be chargers potentially in use by any members of the public at any time, it is essential that safe installation is confirmed and they are tested for safe use at regular intervals.


Understanding the testing and maintenance requirements for EVSE

Test Instrument Solutions can supply a full range of EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) testing and commissioning equipment, which enables the user to quickly carry out the full range of electrical safety testing when installing and maintaining EVSE. This ensures immediate and cumulative safety problems are identified and can be dealt with safely and reliably.

A pilot programme of converting green boxes will take place in East Lothian, Scotland “in the coming months” and, if successful, it is planned to roll this out further across the UK as soon as possible. If you want to know more about EV charger installation, commissioning and testing, contact our experts at Test Instrument Solutions, we can advise on the tests that are needed to be carried out and what test instruments are most suitable for your needs. So get in touch today. 

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