Telekom Austria has announced the launch of its first prototype electric vehicle charging station which finds a new use for some familiar, but fading, technology. In what is hoped will be a trend-setting initiative, telephone booths operated by the company will be modified to include multiple charge points and the first phase of the rollout will see 30 being installed by the end of 2010. What's more, during the testing period users will be able to charge up for free.

Just when you thought personal mobile phones had resigned the once ubiquitous telephone booth to the history books, another use has been found for them. Responding to indicators which point to a future where Austrian streets will be filled with hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles instead of the gas-guzzlers currently in residence, Telekom Austria has unveiled a phased rollout of telephone booth electric vehicle charging points throughout its existing network.

Of the 13,500 telephone booths operated by the company (which has a Tesla Roadster amongst its fleet of electric, hybrid and natural gas vehicles), 700 of them are multimedia stations. In the initial rollout phase, multimedia stations that also benefit from on-street parking will have multiple electric vehicle charging points installed.

A member of the Austrian Mobile Power group, the country's largest electric mobility platform, Telekom Austria said that electric vehicle owners lucky enough to find one can enjoy free charging during the testing phase. Upon commercial launch, users will be offered the option of payment by mobile phone using SMS text messaging, by RFID-chipped cards or via a paybox system at the booth itself.