Volvo Debuts World’s Most Useless Solar Canopy Plug-In Vehicle Charger


There it is…Volvo’s vision of the plug-in vehicle charging future.

Takes Up Like 3 Parking Spots...Maybe 4?

Takes Up Like 3 Parking Spots…Maybe 4?

Only problem is there is no way this could work.

Volvo’s Pure Tension Pavilion made its debut in concept form in Italy.  It’s the work of designer Alvin Huang and it’s part of what Volvo calls Synthesis Design + Architecture.

The idea is that the Pure Tension Pavilion fits in the trunk of the Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid and can be deployed to charge to vehicle wherever and whenever you’d like.

It uses solar power to charge, but it seems impossible that such a unit could charge a plug-in with any sort of immediacy.  Solar technology just isn’t capable of this, at least not in the format/size employed here.

Alvin Huang issued this statement:

“We are thrilled to have had the chance to see our winning project come to light thanks to Volvo Car Italia. The creation of ‘Pure Tension’ is proof of how modern and innovative Volvo Cars’ mindset is. The Pure Tension pavilion demonstrates performance, form and technology, just like the new Volvo cars.”

Ignoring the solar issue, the Pavilion’s fatal flaw is its size.  It takes up what appears to be 4 or so parking spots and that just won’t work out in the real world.

Vandals would surely destroy it.  Thieves would steal it.  And curios onlookers would surround your vehicle whenever you deploy this charger.  Owning and using this on a regular basis would be a nightmare.

Fortunately, Volvo at least partly agrees with us and has decided to use structure for demonstration only, with no plans for production.  Thanks for realizing it’s useless in the real world Volvo.

Categories: Charging, Volvo


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13 Comments on "Volvo Debuts World’s Most Useless Solar Canopy Plug-In Vehicle Charger"

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I love bold, creative and far-left fielded ideas and concepts, especially when there’s some function-following-form to it, but this here is rather embarrassing.

Perhaps Volvo should rather design long range EVs and 170 kW CCS fast chargers. They could be perhaps more useful.

Forget about vandals, imagine wind… 🙂

Surely quick-chargers would prove more useful. @Jouni, why CCS, and why 170kW? The geometry of the connectors don’t allow this much, and Volvo is a CHAdeMO member…

because CCS can support up to 1000 V & 400 A. ABB has already demonstrated 400 kW electric bus charging although it probably does not follow standards.

Chademo can only go up to 500 V & 125 A, but this is utterly too slow charging to be practical. As fast CCS is decades away in the future, Volvo should perhaps join to Tesla supercharger network.

You are confusing what the protocol may allow, what the physical connectors could safely carry, and what common implementations use. Those are three different things.

CHAdeMO and CCS connectors have very similar DC contacts sizes and clearances (CHAdeMO looks actually a bit more conservative). Their geometry allows for up to 200A, for therefore very similar power levels: 100kW for CHAdeMO, 90 or 100kW for the SAE or VDE CCS variants, resp.

With larger, incompatible connectors, both protocols can go higher obviously. The Chinese (BYD-style) inlet is basically CHAdeMO with beefier contacts supporting 300A, for example.

Aerovironment offers CHAdeMO chargers capable of up to 200A. Like ABB, their higher-power units are fitted with different connectors, and are therefore directed at fleets instead of public use.

Connectors can always be replaced. Actually standards are irrelevant, because only thing that matters is that EVs do not have future without rapid implementation of 200 kW range charging. Volvo knowst this and therefore it does not pursue rapid charging, because Volvo certainly does not want electric cars ever to be commonplace.

Tesla has shown that at least 135 kW is feasible and this is not probably the last word.

The idea, as is, will not work, but I could see some sort of portable solar charging equipment to get at least a little bit of a charge when you are in a place where a public charger is not nearby.

Reminds me of the Victoria Secret peacock style costume…..

Companys – at least in my country – have to/are taxewise encouraged to spend some money for art. Maybe this is also the cause here (why employ a design-artist instead of an engineer?).

That being sad… it kinda creates some camping-feeling looking at it. Maybe someone can design a USEFUL camping-tent with the car as a main part of it. The tent could have some solar and the car could charge and buffer it’s energy for the night.

That’s not a bad idea actually.
A tent structure for an EV that has solarvoltaic functionality.
Tied in with the car it can charge the car during the day and the car can supply LED lighting during the night.
It could even provide cooking power.

It would be usfull when you go hicking (or hunting) for a week or two. Problem with that chape is that the wind might take it.

“Vandals would surely destroy it. Thieves would steal it. And curios onlookers would surround your vehicle whenever you deploy this charger. . . . ”

No, no, no. Before any of that, it would fly away, wildly flapping, in the slightest breeze.

Oh, wait: Tie it down firmly to the car and the flapping and pumping can be used to generate electricity. Eureka! Pure genius Volvo!

Maybe make some miniature versions to act as tutus and put them on some Volt (re-branded as Volvo) dancers….It would also make a great emergency llama barn.