It happens to all of us: you’re out and about and want to make a call when you realise that your phone is out of battery. Soon, however, this won’t be a problem – before long you could use Street Charge, a solar charging station designed to give you a burst of power while you’re out and about.
Street Charge is designed to give power to any electrical product with a USB connection, including tablets, cameras and mp3 players.
Each station features three micro USB connectors, which are commonly used in mobile phones and cameras, and three female USB connectors, which allow users to connect their own charging cables to the unit.
Launched in London, UK, yesterday by European suppliers Environmental Street Furniture, Street Charge features three 20 watt solar panels that power up an internal battery, meaning it can be used both during the day and at night.
It also means that Street Charge will work regardless of the weather – a vital feature in rainy countries such as the UK.
The charging station can be installed anywhere outside, and is particularly suited to green spaces, bus and rail stations and universities.
Street Charge also proved its value for public events at San Diego Comic-Con in July. Charging units set up for the event were very positively received by attendees and journalists alike, so we could see the station become a stable of festivals and large events around the world.
Street Charge was originally launched in the US back in June 2013. The first units were located in New York City, and there are now 25 across all five boroughs.
In the eight months Street Charge has been available for, the unit has spread across the US. There are now over 100 charging stations across several states, including Texas, Florida and California.
However the UK launch is one of the first times Street Charge has made it worldwide, with only a handful of places having already had units installed. The only places with Street Charge already in place are Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Dubai; Lima, Peru and Sydney, Australia
Street Charge might be effective, but as something located in public spaces it has to be highly robust to avoid damage from vandalism. The cords are covered with reinforced, industrial-grade material to make then highly resistant to abuse, and the tips are nickel and gold plated for extra durability.
Even if a cable were to be irreparably damaged, it is designed to be easily replaced, giving the station the best chance of surviving anything the public can throw at it.
All of this may be unnecessary, however. Environmental Street Furniture managing director Alan Lowry said that the company had any serious issues with sabotage or vandalism. “We thought that would be an issue in New York, but we didn’t see it,” he said.
Images courtesy of Street Charge.