Pure Tension Pavilion Is Volvo’s Sci-Fi Way of Solar Charging Cars

What looks like a futuristic sculpture surrounding a Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid is in fact a new type of solar panel that’s sufficiently large to charge the car’s battery and sufficiently small to be folded-up and stored away in the car’s trunk.

Switch to Pure Volvo is a competition that was organized by Volvo Car Italia and the architecture magazine The Plan. What you see below is the Pure Tension Pavilion, or the very winner of this competition. The goal of the competitors was to build a temporary pavilion for the new Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid, the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid production car. “Why temporary?” you might ask. As this is a new car, despite being headed towards mass production in the near future, at the moment it is the star of open-air fairs and presentations. Such occasions are perfect for demoing the car along with its accessories, among which the Pure Tension Pavilion plays a major role.

SDA‘s approach combines a high density polyethylene (HDPE) mesh with photovoltaic panels, all these stretched over carbon fiber rods. The HDPE ensures the necessary flexibility for folding up the pavilion whenever needed, while the photovoltaic panels have the obvious function of transforming solar energy into electric current that is used for charging and powering the car.

The dimensions of the pavilion might scare some. More precisely, it measures 7 meters in width and 3 meters in height. Nevertheless, it fits perfectly in V60′s trunk, as mentioned before. With this beautiful sci-fi sculpture in the back of the car, getting from one presentation to another couldn’t be easier.

Synthesis Architecture + Design claim that they focus on “the qualities of dynamic form, interactivity, visual impact, functionality, and efficiency to create a novel temporary structure that while iconic also offers high-performance.”

The Pure Tension Pavilion is yet to be finished, but anyone in Rome on September 15, 2013 will get the chance to see it and feel it. Personally, I think that both the design and the functionality of this pavilion are otherworldly. The thing I am concerned about, though, is whether there is enough room left in the trunk for luggage. After all, people driving this diesel plug-in hybrid beauty might want to go on vacation from time to time, and they might want to take with them something more than the car’s solar charger.

If you liked this post, please check the solar-powered V-Tent that charges and protects electric vehicles and Stella, the first solar-powered family car.