The dawn of solar-powered cars is on the horizon.
Volvo has revealed details of a portable "pavillion" which can refuel your car for free while parked for a picnic or watching a football match.
Even in the wacky and oft-unattainable parameters of concept cars, the Swedish brand's new technology is set to stretch the boundaries of alternative energy propulsion for conventional cars.
Using a folding tent - similar to those used for outdoor events - that is embedded with photovoltaic solar cells which absorb energy from the sun, the concept can charge the electric batteries of a Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid in any outdoor environment. As long as the sun is out, that is.
The pavillion, made from can a tensioned mesh and supported by lightweight carbon fibre rods, can be deconstructed and fits in the boot of the Volvo wagon.
The car can then operate as a conventional plug-in hybrid, with its ultra-frugal combination of electric motors and a diesel engine using just 1.8L/100km of fuel in hybrid mode.
The V60 Plug-in Hybrid can also be driven as a pure electric vehicle for upto 50km, which, when charged using the pavillion, effectively means it is fuelled for free.
The concept has been created in Italy as part of a design competition commissioned by Volvo.
Volvo is set to officially unveil the new technology at a sustainable energy expo in Rome in September.
-Fairfax News Australia
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