Now that mobile phones are ubiquitous, public phone booths are fast becoming obsolete. In a bid to find a viable new use for its 13,500 phone booths around the country, Telekom Austria has begun converting them into battery recharging stations for electric cars, scooters and motorbikes.
Unveiling its first phone booth-turned-recharging station in front of the company's Vienna headquarters in May, Telekom Austria announced plans to convert an additional 29 phone booths by the end of this year. During the initial trial period, recharging is free. The company eventually plans to charge a single-digit euro sum for the recharging service, with payments to be made via mobile phone.
Telekom Austria’s forward-thinking scheme comes at a time when, of the total 4.36 million cars on Austrian roads, there are only 223 electric cars and 3,559 hybrid cars registered. Yet the Austrian motor vehicle association, VOeC, predicts that the number of electric vehicles in Austria will rise to 405,000 by 2020. Telecommunications companies around the globe: a leap into the widely forecast EV-prevalent future worth following? (Related: Charging infrastructure for electric vehicles — Free car charging at new, greener McDonalds.)