In great shape – Volvo strikes a new path with solar charging station

With all respect to the Swedish engineering community: Volvo was never really famous for its dynamic and sweeping design. The team from Gothenburg was much more known for solidity, quality and safety – after all it has been a Volvo that has featured the first three-point seat belt.

But now it was time for another premiere, which pushed Volvo on the front pages of many publications: A foldable and creatively shaped solar charging station for electric cars. Many characteristics and ideas which are part of our solar charging station Point.One can also be found in the concept that was developed by the California-based design company Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA) for Volvo Italy.

Eyecatcher made of polyester texture

The so called Pure Tension Pavilion looks like an abstract sculpture that reminds people of a large blossom – but it is a fully working solar charging station. The clou of the concept: The polyester texture of the charging station gets combined with solar cells that turn sunlight into electricity. However the efficiency of the concept can certainly be improved even further, as at the moment the pavilion produces 1.5 to 2.0 kWh per day. Anyhow: We think it´s a great approach.

Charging station Volvo

Volvo´s innovative charging station


One of the leading minds behind the development of the Pure Tension Pavilion was Alvin Huang, SDA-founder and professor for architecture at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. He and his team had a budget of 60000 Euros to develop the creatively and fashionably designed solution. Cause of the development was a competition which was initiated by Volvo Italy in cooperation with the architecture magazine “The Plan”.

The right direction

The current version, which could be a basis for further developments, is a construction with a 7×7 m area and 4m height. It also takes up to three people to erect the mobile charging station. Within the next few weeks the innovative solar charging station will be on a road show through Italy. By doing this Volvo intends to promote the Volvo V60 Plug-In-Hybrid.

construction Volvo

High-angle shot of the construction

In our opinion the Pure Tension Pavilion can become an important gain and a strong impulse for the market. The concept confirms our philosophy and our main objectives: Charging stations have to facilitate emissions-free e-mobility. Charging stations have to be based on new manufacturing technologies and processes. Charging stations have to raise attention by their design and architecture, communicate a high level of innovation and modernity and make people excited about e-mobility.

We are all very excited about the feedback the charging station from Volvo will get by the public. And we hope for the whole industry that the concept will help e-mobility in Europe to proceed.

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