As more and more folks adopt cell phones, public phone booths across the globe are quickly becoming obsolete. And while mobile phones may be considerably more convenient than their public counterparts, what do you do with all those abandoned booths? Luckily, an Austrian telecommunications company came up with an innovative solution–turn those old-fashioned booths into battery recharging stations for electric cars, scooters and motorbikes.
Telekom Austria unveiled its first phone booth-turned-recharging station yesterday in Vienna. The company hopes to convert 29 more of the country’s 13,500 booths by the end of the year and then continue to roll out more and more. It takes about 6.5 hours to recharge an electric car, 80 minutes to juice a scooter and only 20 minutes to charge an electric bicycle.
We hope that these novel new charging stations will spark a greater interest in electric vehicles, because right now, EVs aren’t super popular in Austria. The country currently has about 223 registered electric cars and 3,559 hybrid vehicles on the roads. Still, Austria’s motor vehicle association, VOeC, says that it expects the country to contain about 405,000 electric vehicles by the year 2020, which is when Telekom Austria’s innovation will really come in handy.
Telekom Austria says that initially, using the recharging stations will be free. The company eventually hopes to charge a small fee (a single-digit Euro sum) for the charges, which customers can pay using their mobile phones.