Solar Charging Car Canopy Unfurls From the Trunk

Charging electric cars with the power of the sun could get a lot more convenient (and beautiful) with this rapid-deploying canopy that unfurls from the trunk. The futuristic Pure Tension pavilion is the winner of Volvo’s design competition, taking its inspiration from the car company’s V60 vehicle. Designed by Los Angeles-based Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA), the pavilion looks a bit like a futuristic flower.

Photovoltaic valves are woven directly into the canopy’s membrane, channeling energy from the sun into the car’s battery. It’s lightweight, so it’s highly portable and easy to set up. “The project aspires to reinvent the typical trade show pavilion through its combination of dynamic form, optical effects and flexibility and adaptability to the space,” say the designers.

“The structure of the pavilion is highlighted by a uniquely sensual and continuous form composed of a tensioned HDPE Mesh skin with embedded PV panels and a perimeter ring made of carbon fiber rods. The effect of the structure’s organic form, perforated mesh, and PV transparent panels provides a striking graphic identity to Volvo’s V60 model which encourages visual and spatial interaction while simultaneously enabling different configurations to accommodate a variety of activities including: vendors, demonstrations, car trade shows.”

So, the design is really for Volvo to show off their car, rather than a working canopy for consumers. That might be just as well, considering potential problems with wind and space (how do you find a parking spot big enough to fit that thing?) But it’s an intriguing idea, giving us all kinds of thoughts about how solar chargers will change in the future.