There are a little over 6,200 operational electric vehicle charging stations across America, so if you have an electric hybrid car in some parts of the country, getting juice is a little trickier than popping into the nearest gas station.
A new solution designed for Volvo Auto Italia by Synthesis Design + Architecture, Buro Happold, and Fabric Images aims to let the car charge wherever it happens to find a parking spot in the sun. Called “Pure Tension,” it’s a portable pavilion that unfolds in a series of organic, parabolic curves embedded with photovoltaic panels for harvesting solar energy.
The membrane, made of recyclable high-density polyethylene mesh fabric, is stretched over a lightweight, tubular carbon fiber frame that can be packed down to fit into the trunk of the Volvo V60 hybrid electric-diesel car. The tension of the fabric is what bends the frame into its shape, and it provides a second service: shading the car from the heat of the sun’s rays.
A cable connects the pavilion to the car’s battery for charging, and it takes a day to fully charge the V60’s battery. All you’d have to worry about is finding somewhere to park.
The winner of Volvo’s “Switch to Pure” competition, Pure Tension will be on display in Rome starting September 15 as part of the car’s premiere.