Last year, automotive designer Pininfarinia debuted a prototype two-seater electric car, and this year it's making the pint-size Nido EV even more environmentally friendly by creating a solar charging station to power it.
The Italian design house revealed the Antares solar charging tree last month at MoTechEco, a sustainable mobility show in Rome. The 108 sq. ft. treelike modular car charger contains 20 photovoltaic solar panels, capable of producing 4.6 kilowatts, enough to recharge two electric cars for a range of approximately 50 miles each.
Pininfarina isn't alone in its pursuit of a tree-shaped solar charging station. Chicago-based Carbon Day Automotive installed its Solar Plug-in Station as part of the ChargePoint Network, a 2.2-kilowatt system designed to charge two vehicles at the same time. Nissan and Google have been developing solar-powered charging carports, but none with as much style as what Pininfarina designed.
Antares is part of Pininfarina's sustainable mobility initiative, which explores ways to reduce emissions through the use of alternative, lighter, and recyclable materials. The Nido EV is constructed of carbon fiber composite materials on a modular aluminum frame, which can be used to produce an electric or hybrid 2+2, pickup, or light van.