As cell phones become ever more ubiquitous, phone booths become increasingly irrelevant. But what to do with the thousands of virtually abandoned phone booths scattered in cities around the world? Madrid's solution is to turn these relics of a bygone age into electric vehicle charging stations.
It's an ingenious idea since telephone booths are often located close to curbs, and they already have built-in electricity supplies. As a result, it's cheaper to convert the booths into charging stations than to build the stations from scratch. So the Spanish government, which is working on a massive EV charge point initiative, is looking into converting up to 30 Madrid-based phone booths into EV stations.
Beyond that, the government is also spending $2.2 million in the next two years to build 546 charging stations in Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville. And to encourage consumers to make the switch to EVs, Madrid plans to let electric vehicle owners charge their cars and park in the city for free.
Whether the phone booth to charging station fix becomes a larger trend depends mainly on the actions of charge point manufacturers like Coulomb Technologies, which has in the past used light poles as charging station power sources. It certainly makes sense for the company to appropriate phone booths—using an already-existing infrastructure will allow Coulomb to install its technology quickly and efficiently. If Madrid's phone booth test run works out, don't be surprised if it becomes a larger trend.