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06 May 2010

Obsolete phone boxes saved by rise of the electric vehicle

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Austria Telekom launches scheme to turn old phone booths into charge points for the burgeoning electric vehicle market

Old fashioned phone boxes on the streets of Vienna will have the chance to become fashionable once more following the launch of a scheme by Austria's leading telecom company designed to turn the booths into charge points for electric vehicles (EVs).

Austria Telekom Group this week announced the launch of the first prototype telephone booth with an integrated charging station for electric vehicles, adding that the power would be sourced from renewable sources.

The firm also announced plans to makeover another 29 booths by the end of this year as part of a pilot project, which will see a number of charging points installed at each booth in order to recharge more than one vehicle at a time.

According to reports from news wire Agence France-Presse, there are currently just 223 electric cars registered in Austria, out of a total of 4.36 million cars.

However, Austria Telekom said it expects the number of e-scooters on Austrian roads to exceed 60,000 while electric cars are expected to number 115,000 by the same date. Moreover, the country is expected to boast 405,000 electric vehicles by the end of the decade.

Initially Austria Telekom Group is promising to supply those early EV adopters with free power from the booths. However, users will have to pay for recharges via text messages from mobile phones, paybox or a Radio Frequency Identification card with an RFID chip once the scheme is launched commercially.


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