Is This Volvo Solar Pavilion The Ultimate Electric Car Accessory?

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Fold-out solar pavilion for Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid (Image: Synthesis Design + Architecture)

Fold-out solar pavilion for Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid (Image: Synthesis Design + Architecture)

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Solar panels are great, but they can be a bit... well, bland sometimes. We can't argue with their benefits, but unless you've a keen eye for photography, they aren't really works of art.

Apart from Synthesis Design + Architecture's (SDA) solar pavilion of course, because that's most definitely a work of art.

It's called the Pure Tension Pavilion, the result of the "Switch to Pure Volvo" competition launched by Volvo Car Italia and organized by international architecture magazine The Plan.

The brief was to construct a temporary pavilion that expressed "a strong and creative identity" to showcase the Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid--the world's first diesel plug-in hybrid production car--at open-air fairs and presentations.

SDA's design uses a high density polyethylene (HDPE) mesh skin with integrated photovoltaic panels, stretched over a web of carbon fiber rods. The result is a construction straight out of science fiction and a work of beautiful sculpture, but one with practical attributes too.

Not only does the pavilion charge the Volvo V60 while it sits there at fairs and similar, but its collapsible nature means it can be folded away and stored in the V60's trunk--ready to be transported to the next event.

SDA says it emphasizes "the qualities of dynamic form, interactivity, visual impact, functionality, and efficiency to create a novel temporary structure that while iconic  also offers high-performance".

Seems fair enough to us, though Treehugger sees it as much more than a glitzy display for a new Volvo.

They could be right. If the lightweight setup proves efficient, there'd be little to stop companies offering something similar as an electric vehicle accessory--ready to top up your battery wherever you stop.

Currently in development, the Pure Tension Pavilion will go on display in Rome on September 15, 2013.


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Comments (6)
  1. I guess if you are parking out in the middle of a farmer's field this might be reasonable.

    But anywhere that I park, the structure would be way to large :)

  2. It'd certainly stop people opening their doors onto your car in parking lots...

  3. Well, this is far better than usual car which releases 34 percent of nitrogen dioxide released into the atmosphere. They also account for 51 percent of the carbon monoxide, 10 percent of the particulate and 33 percent of the carbon dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide is a cause of acid rain and increases the growth of algae. Particulate, also called soot, causes haze and pollutes ground water. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas capable of causing death in large doses and headaches, loss of breath and nausea is smaller doses. Carbon dioxide is a major contributor to global warming.

    So, which is best Green Car or the Traditional Car?

    Serious concern from

  4. This could be a cool solution to range anxiety, except at night, of course.

  5. Look cool. But I have a feeling that thing is going to cost more than 1/3 the price of my car...

  6. Beautiful but useless.

    With its over-the-top shape and size, this thing would produce more power if it was able to harness wind instead of light.

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