Telekom Austria has come up with an idea for old telephone boxes – it plans to turn them into recharging stations for electric cars.

The company said that Austria’s telephone boxes were becoming obsolete because of the increase in mobile phones, but their future could lie with electric vehicles.

With just 223 electric cars currently registered on the road in Austria, the scheme is still in its infancy. There are, however, 3,559 hybrids out of a total 4.36m cars in the country.

Austrian motor vehicle association VOeC predicts the number of EVs will rise to 405,000 by 2020.

Telekom Austria has 13,500 phone boxes around Austria and has come up with the idea of turning them into recharging stations for electric vehicles: cars, scooters and bicycles.

The company this week unveiled its first charging station in front of the company’s headquarters in Vienna. And the aim is to convert 29 more phone boxes by the end of this year.

During the initial trial period, recharging will cost nothing. An electric car needs around 6.5 hours to be recharged, an electric scooter 80 minutes and an electric bike 20 minutes.

But in future, payment for a recharge is expected to be made by phone – mobile phone that is.