Electric Cars

Deutsche Telekom will create new EV chargers by repurposing infrastructure

That's a clever way to deploy EV-charging tech faster in places where it's needed.

Juergen Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

When it comes to building EV charging stations from scratch, it can be quite the investment, especially when it involves running new wires from the grid to the station. But Deutsche Telekom has a smarter, faster idea.

Deutsche Telekom, the largest telecom company by revenue in Europe and also the parent company of T-Mobile, announced on Monday that it will launch a network of EV chargers in Europe. But while that might not sound all that new or clever, it's how the company wants to build those chargers that's interesting.

DT will build EV chargers by adding new wires to existing telecom boxes in residential areas. While those boxes may only accommodate a paltry 11 kW of charging power (Tesla's Supercharger is around 150 kW) to two vehicles charging simultaneously, having the chance to juice up more often might mean residents only need a small boost in charge here and there. The chargers might also help folks get home if they didn't plan ahead with the charge in their vehicles.

That's not all DT has planned, though. The company does intend to build some proper EV chargers along the way. DT said it plans to build 100 fast-charging stations that are capable of up to 150 kW, which can add about 60 miles of range in about 10 minutes. It hopes to expand that number to 500 charging stations in three years' time.

Repurposing current infrastructure for the future is a clever idea, but as DT's plan shows, it's not a perfect replacement for creating chargers from scratch. But just as some people only top off their gas tanks, some EV owners could very well make do with slower charging as the primary source of electrons. Telecom companies don't appear to be champing at the bit to do this in the US, but it could work here for similar reasons, as well.