In the future, electric cars and plug-in hybrids may be able to carry their own solar charging station with them, folded up and ready to deploy, right from the car's trunk. The first of its kind is expected to be displayed in Rome later this year, as part of the launch of Volvo's V60 Hybrid Electric Diesel model.
The Pure Tension Pavilion, picked as the winner of the 2013 Switch to Pure Volvo Pavilion Design competition, is an attempt to re-envision the standard pavilion used for trade shows, providing not only shelter and a beautiful design, but a power source as well.
The Pavilion is a tensioned membrane structure using an HDPE mesh skin, a carbon fiber skeleton, and integrating embedded photovoltaic panels, that can fully collapse and fit inside the trunk of the V60 when not in use.
"The issue of sustainability is addressed in the form of a power strategy which uses fabric embedded Photovoltaic panels and light collected from the sun or indoor artificial lighting to power the pavilion and charge the V60 model on show. The car will ‘plug’ directly into the pavilion’s skin, charging its battery with the energy collected over the day. The ‘Switch to Pure Volvo” pavilion becomes a symbol of the V60’s attitude to efficient energy consumption and a showcase of the Hybrid V60’s characteristics." - SDA
The pavilion, commissioned by Volvo Car Italia, is a collaborative effort between Synthesis Design + Architecture, Buro Happold, and Fabric Images, and will be launched in September 2013 in Rome, Italy.
While the Pure Tension solar pavilion is an experimental creation, and isn't market-ready at all, if it turns out to be a functional and efficient product, it could serve to demonstrate another possible iteration of methods to provide some of the power to electric cars.