Although solar power is a resource that most of us agree we should be taking far more advantage of, the truth is that solar panels are often just as visually uncool as they are inefficient relative to other sources of energy. However, as manufacturing processes evolve to allow for more adventurous designs, the shift to aesthetically pleasing solar harvesters is gathering momentum, as exemplified by this new device created as an add-on to Volvo's V60 electric vehicle.
Designed by Los Angles-based architecture studio Synthesis, the idea is the winner of the international "Switch to Pure Volvo" competition that called for an innovative solution to showcase the automaker's latest electric vehicle. The collapsible pavilion uses integrated photovoltaic panels tensioned over carbon fiber rods to create an attractively futuristic butterfly wing-like covering that both protects the car from the elements and acts as a kind of power supply.
When the driver is ready to move to another location, the solar pavilion easily folds up into a housing that can be stored in the vehicle's trunk, making the seemingly unwieldy back-up power supply actually quite practical. Synthesis claims that the pavilion can also effectively capture energy from indoor artificial lighting as well.
The pavilion will go on public display on September 15 at a special event in Italy. You can see more of the pavilion's design in the gallery below.