Plug 'n' Pay: E-Charge Stations Coming to an Airport Near You

A convenient method of charging electronics on low battery is set to hit malls, cafes, and airports across the country.

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Pay-per-use electrical outlet access for re-charging laptops and electric bicycles will soon become a reality, benefiting not only customers with urgent power needs, but also the retailers who install the new technology, titled SafePlug(R) Model 1200-P3, and literally sell the electricity. The SafePlug is being released by 2D2C, Inc. and comes in the form of two parts: an electrical outlet and a small tap card, or "key-fob." The card allows customers to pre-pay for electricity-charging minutes at participating retailers, including airports, cafes, malls, and just about anywhere with electrical outlets. And all that's required of retailers is to do a quick, one-minute retrofit of their existing outlets to make room for the key card-enabled SafePlug.

 

What's not clear is whether retailers profit from charging an additional amount on top of the pre-paid amounts or if the pre-payment goes to retailers directly. It looks as though 2D2C sells the SafePlugs to retailers and then retailers sell electricity usage directly to customers. We'll see how it all plays out.

"It's truly a revolutionary design due to its built-in security to prevent 'power theft' by users who haven't pre-paid. The SafePlug outlet has LED indicators to show when it's charging and the credits left on the P3TM Pre-Paid Power card," said 2D2C CEO, Steven Montgomery, in the press release. "The SafePlug system incorporates a lot of the features customers are familiar with when buying long-distance minutes or using an ATM, so it's going to be easy for people to start using the service."

The makers are expecting high demand, due to the regularity with which individuals run out of power at opportune moments--before getting on a flight being a prime example--and relevant products range from cell phones to laptops to iPads, Kindles, electric bikes, and more.

[Top image: flickr user AZAdam; Bottom image: flick user CJ Sorg]

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