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Transportation Hardware Technology

Austria Converts Phone Booths To EV Chargers 161

separsons writes "Telekom Austria, a telecommunications company, aims to convert obsolete public phone booths into electric vehicle recharging stations. The company unveiled its first station yesterday in Vienna and hopes to create 29 more stations by the end of the year. The stations may not be super popular now, but they should be soon; Austria's motor vehicle association says the country will likely have 405,000 electric vehicles on the road by the year 2020."
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Austria Converts Phone Booths To EV Chargers

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  • by T Murphy ( 1054674 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:15AM (#32108244) Journal
    A company with outdated infrastructure changing it's business model to adapt to changing technology- all in a quick, relatively efficient process? Yeah, you've got to be pulling my leg.

    Wait, do you mean Corporate America isn't doing it right?
  • by lordlod ( 458156 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:26AM (#32108300)

    I understand their desire to reuse the prime real estate they have for their phone boxes and convert it into a new profitable market.

    However in this case I'm not sure it will actually be so useful. Typically you position phone boxes in pedestrian heavy areas where people can see them and use them. Normally you would want recharging stations in car parks, where cars like to hang out for extended periods of time. Do you really want to base your business model over having cars parked beside the road in busy streets for 6.5 hours at a time? Looking at the phone booth in the picture there doesn't even seem space for a single car to stop.

  • by masterwit ( 1800118 ) * on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:26AM (#32108306) Journal

    But in future, payment, which is expected to cost a single-digit euro sum, will be via mobile phone, Ametsreiter said.

    Ah the irony...I personally welcome new healthy ideas into any market. (Free market with healthy regulation, whatever no political arguments needed here)

    Some more info:

    Telekom Austria's charging stations will leverage the group’s existing infrastructure: the company currently operates 13,500 telephone booths countrywide, of which 700 are multimedia stations. In the first phase, the focus will be on multimedia stations that offer on-street parking opportunities for electric vehicles. By installing additional charging points, each telephone booth will be able to recharge more than one vehicle at a time. By year-end 2010 a total of 30 charging stations will be on stream. According to a survey by Verkehsclub Osterreich, an association promoting environmentally sustainable, socially just and economically efficient mobility, the number of electric vehicles will significantly increase in Austria over the next few years, with e-scooters exceeding 60,000 and e-cars 115,000 by 2015.

    http://www.telegeography.com/cu/article.php?article_id=33006&email=html [telegeography.com]

    Yes they did not go out on a limb to invest in phone booths, but using existing architecture in an economically and environmentally friendly way to address an emerging market, nice.

  • bikes, not cars? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by serps ( 517783 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:48AM (#32108398) Homepage

    Seems more practical to recharge bikes (either electric-assisted, or motorcycles), rather than cars.

    • You can physically get a bike closer to the telephone box than you can a car.
    • You can fill a bike battery an appreciable amount in an hour, given the system's power generation constraints.
    • You can fit a bunch of charging bikes around a box with bike rack technology
    • There's thousands of bike riders in that country already, unlike the car-heavy US
  • by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:49AM (#32108646)

    Actually Telecom austria is also the biggest mobile phone provider in austria (and a big one in severeal eastern and southeastern european countries).
    Btw. also Austria has more mobile phone contracts than citizense due to the fact that mobile phone services there are dirt cheap and lots of people have more than one contract.

  • by clemdoc ( 624639 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:32AM (#32108786)
    As far as I know, they're actually not allowed to give up the phone booths. Telekom Austria is the former state monopoly and they're obliged to maintain certain services even though they may not be lucrative anymore.
    (Just as the Postal Service has been forbidden to close certain Post Offices lest the density become too low: Some retirements pensions are actually still paid through the Post Offices and you don't want old people to have to travel for hours to get their money.)
    So upgrading an existing infrastructure that has to be maintained to offer additional services doesn't seem like too stupid an idea.
  • by flurdy ( 301431 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:53AM (#32108880) Homepage

    I would prefer that we convert the phone booths to mobile phone, iPod, etc ie gadget charging stations.

    May need to offer some lockable lockers with chargers similar to what they offer at music festivals. But not sure terror / vandal paranoid people would accept that.

    I have to admit I still use phone booths, but only as a quiet place to talk on my mobile...

  • by mindbrane ( 1548037 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @04:04AM (#32108930) Journal
    A handful of years ago I gave some thought to some business ideas that could make use of phone booths. I wondered if they could be viably transformed into secure, internet transaction booths, keeping the coin payment system as an option to CC payment. Phone booths have a high profile/key location thing going for them that's just waiting for the right entrepreneurial insight.
  • Re:Ahnold (Score:3, Interesting)

    by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @09:53AM (#32110788)
    Interesting factoid: Arnold Schwarzenegger asked if he would be allowed to do the voice-over for the Austrian translation of The Terminator. He was denied.

    Apparently, Arnie has a somewhat colloquial accent in his home country, somewhat akin to the deep south in the US, or Norfolk in the UK. He sounds like a farmer.

    "I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle" takes on an entirely different slant when you say it like a hick. Brokeback Terminator.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"