Driving design: How DesignNobis’ V-Tent could help EVs charge themselves

V-Tent DesignNobis concept

Whether you buy into the idea that alternative fuel sources are truly viable in the years to come, one thing is for sure: All that oil is going to run out someday, which is exactly why we must look to alternatives now. A number of car manufacturers are already hard at work solving this problem, but it’s going to take more than just automakers and legislation to drive us out of the oil age.

Enter Dr. Hakan Gürsu and the team over at DesignNobis. The small Turkish firm recently developed a rather clever EV charging concept called the V-Tent. While the V-Tent was designed to shield your vehicle from the Sun’s harmful rays, it doubles as a solar-energy gathering canopy for recharging an electric vehicle’s thirsty battery. We got in touch with Dr. Gürsu  to get the lowdown on whether the V-Tent could solve some of our alternative fuel woes.

DT: The V-Tent is certainly a captivating concept. What was the inspiration behind its design?

The idea behind the V-Tent concept goes back to the many sunny summer days along the Mediterranean. Here, it’s hard to find a shade to park your car under, so we decided to develop a tent that protects the car, and produces energy at the same time.

What is the creative process behind developing such a concept?

Typically, the process starts with observation and then defining a problem. There were some criteria we wanted to follow for the V-Tent. For example, we wanted it to be collapsible, almost transparent in a way, when not in use. We decided that it needed to allow for both individual and public use. And it should be supporting technology and user interaction as well. Since we are focusing on ecological, energy saving products, we are keenly interested in solar energy. Our research team is following state of the art technologies and data, while our product development team focuses on design and engineering. There are also a number of different software used for production, animation, and simulation.

V-Tent covered concept

Even though the V-Tent is a concept, are there parts to it that are feasible now?

Feasibility of the V-Tent correlates to the EV market. In the U.S. and Europe electric cars are becoming widespread.

Could the technology be modified to be on-board, so EVs could drive with the tents “folded” up and then deployed anywhere when a charge was necessary and sun was available?

It may decrease aerodynamics, increase weight and costs. Our aim is to solve the problem more for public use and maximum efficiency with less initial investment.

What are some advantages of the V-Tent?

There are a number of advantages: Your car is safe and protected from environmental effects, and it’s getting charged at the same time. Also, public usage enables easy access since you can charge your car where you park it. Our concept system also has a simple interface with charging time information and payment options built in.

Are you in talks with any companies to develop a working model?

The V-Tent concept has been honored with the 2012 Green Dot Award, and we plan on entering new competitions, too. There are some offers we will be discussing; however, a low-tech version can be readily built with advertisement on textile instead of solar panels. That would also work as ad income for system installation.

V-Tent not covered

Do you think electric vehicles will replace gasoline-powered cars any time soon?

Since petroleum resources are limited and already 30-35 percent is used in plastics production, and one kilogram of oil consumption has a price of 3.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide, alternative energy resources will be gaining more and more importance. We believe that vehicles with alternative energy usage will become widespread, especially with new regulations and ecologic considerations.

Where do you see the V-tent being the most effective?

It really depends on some criteria, such as environment, car usage and distances. Also government policies are important. Recently, there have been new regulations in the European Union and clean energy strategies are being developed in favor of electric cars and charging points as well.

Charging and Full Charge

How long did the entire creative process take?

It took about 12 months with changing work load.

Moving along to a slightly different topic, what is your favorite electric car at the moment?

As a group of product designers, some of us are really into cars. Tesla seems the overall favorite among our office – mostly for its design, technology, and emotional aesthetic.

What is your least favorite?

The Fisker Karma is our least favorite in terms of efficiency.

Are you working on any other automotive-related projects?

Last year we designed an electric car concept called the Phaeton, which we developed for Istanbul, especially for the old town area where streets are quite narrow and small taxis are needed for sightseeing. The Phaeton’s overall design was a response to the need of intercity, low speed cars. For classification purposes, it slots between automobiles and non-motorized vehicles, and was designed in accordance with international vehicle norms defined as weighing less than 250 kilograms and traveling no more than 40 km/h speed. It is especially suited for low speed areas such as inner-city alleys, historical or tourist areas, and university campuses, and was honored with the Silver Award in the A’ Design Award Competition held in Milan.

Thank you again for all your time and effort.

Thank you for your interest.


The 8-seat, 3-row 2020 Telluride SUV is the biggest Kia ever

It's fitting that the 2020 Kia Telluride debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, as it was built specifically to meet U.S. buyers' insatiable demand for SUVs. Kia packed the eight-seat cabin with family-friendly tech as well.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Look forward to your morning commute with one of the best ebikes available

A proper ebike is perfect for commuting or a trek along the trailhead, with most offering pedal assistance and a long-range battery. As more brands offer their own take on this innovative way to get around, it's hard to distinguish the…

Still have holiday cash to blow? Grab one of these awesome Xbox One games

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Cadillac is finally ready to take on Tesla with its own electric car

At the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, Cadillac announced plans for its first electric car. The unnamed model will be a crossover, based on a new platform to be shared with other General Motors brands.

Peloton’s tech lets truckers play follow the leader to boost fuel economy

Peloton Technology can help semi trucks save fuel by running close together on the highway. Using short-range wireless communications, the trucks get a kind of super cruise control.

Move mountains with the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty and its 1,000 pound-feet of torque

Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty pickup truck boasts 1,000 pound-feet of torque -- outgunning rival trucks from Ford and Chevrolet. The new Ram goes on sale later this year.

With 341 horsepower, the WRX STI S209 is the most powerful Subaru ever

The Subaru WRX STI S209 is the latest in a series of special editions that have never been sold in the United States before. The 341-horsepower pocket rocket debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

China’s GAC Motor cruises into Detroit with all-electric Entranze concept

Chinese automaker GAC Motor brought its all-electric Entranze concept to the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. This is the third straight year that GAC has appeared in Detroit, and the company has established a design center in California.

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

Some of Volkswagen’s electric models will wear a ‘Made in the USA’ label

Confirming earlier rumors, Volkswagen has announced it will build electric cars in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory. The facility currently produces the Passat and the Atlas. Production will start in 2023, Digital Trends can reveal.

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.