Terraced streets in Yorkshire could get 'game changing' EV charging points thanks to BT

Terraced streets in Bradford could soon get EV charging points thanks to a “game changing” pilot involving BT.

Earlier this year, the telecoms giant revealed plans to alter some of their on street cabinets to create charging points. It was seen as a possible breakthrough in providing charging infrastructure in areas without off street parking spaces – such as terraced streets.

This week a Bradford Council committee was told the authority was taking part in BT’s pilot scheme to see how effective these new on street charging points could be. The scheme was discussed by members of the Council’s Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee this week, where members were told the scheme could lead to charging points in more of Bradford’s inner city areas.

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But one councillor questioned whether one charging point on a terraced street that could be home to hundreds of families would make much of a difference in the switch to electric. The committee received a report on environmental sustainability work taking place in the district.

How a BT charging box in Bradford would lookHow a BT charging box in Bradford would look
How a BT charging box in Bradford would look

The report included date from Clean Air Zone cameras that showed roughly 7,000 EVs pass through the zone every day. Ahird party data has found that Ilkley has one of the highest concentrations of electric vehicle ownership in the UK.

Late last year the council launched the EV Taxi programme – funded through CAZ income, providing grants of up to £10,000 for the purchase or two-year lease of an electric taxi. A total of 450 applications for support have been made by taxi drivers so far. Concerns have previously been raised in Bradford that the city’s terraced streets were not necessarily compatible with electric car charging.

The report says the BT pilot could be one way to tackle this issue. It says: “The council recognises that electric vehicle (EV) charging in the district requires more than public funding to cater for the energy demand required to support the transition to zero emission vehicles and is actively seeking wider opportunities with the private sector to accelerate provision of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

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“The council is participating in a nil-cost pilot with the BT Group to explore use of BT’s on-street points of power (DSLAM boxes) to build an accessible public charging network. At this initial pilot stage BT will provide installation of up to five public EV charge points, subject to necessary permissions, for the pilot evaluation period.”

At the meeting Andrew Whittles, assistant director for sustainability, said: “The project could be a game changer. BT has those green boxes that you see at the end of your street. They are upgrading a number in Bradford that will see an electricity cable run from them, underneath the pavement to create a new charging space there.

“That means we could soon have a charging post on every terraced street in Bradford. This would help encourage more people in Bradford to get electric vehicles.”

Councillor Debbie Davies said: “The report says Ilkley has the highest proportion of electric cars. It is one of the wealthiest parts of the District. Unless the price of these cars comes down most people won’t be able to afford them.”

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Mr Whittles pointed out the high number of EVs passing through the CAZ on a daily basis, adding: “There are 7,000 coming through the CAZ, and Ilkley is not in the CAZ. There are also more second-hand cars becoming available. Last year people were telling me taxi drivers won’t bite – then we had 450 taxi drivers apply for grants in just a few days.”

Councillor Riaz Ahmed added: “The street I live on has 100 houses. If you have one charging point, it is not enough. The high levels of EVs in Ilkley are due to the income levels there. The housing stock in areas of Bradford is mostly terraced or back to back. If people live in inner city areas will they have access to charging?”

Mr Whittles said: “If all new vehicles are eventually going to be electric then we have to look at whether the Council is the right organisation to provide charging points to all these people. Planning policies can encourage new infrastructure. We hear from some taxi drivers that they don’t have off street charging. Some just go to a charging bay at Tesco or somewhere like that for an hour and get enough charge for the next two days.”

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