Electric vehicles are still haunted by concerns about going the distance on a charge. Maybe this beautiful design for a portable, packable solar pavilion for recharging plug-ins can transform that fear into excitement and pride.

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A team from the Los Angeles-based firm Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA) created the Pure Tension pavilion concept for a contest held by Volvo Car Italia. Competitors were challenged to come up with an innovative design for a temporary pavilion that would showcase the new Volvo V60 plug-in electric hybrid when on display in Italian squares.

SDA’s winning pavilion beat out 150 other entries. The design calls for a lightweight, portable structure composed of tensioned high-density polyethylene mesh embedded with photovoltaic panels and a perimeter ring made of carbon fiber rods. A V60 would plug in directly and charge the battery with energy the pavilion collected over the day. When disassembled, the structure would fit in a tent-sized bag that can be stored in the trunk.

The Pure Tension pavilion, still being developed, is set to go on display in Rome on September 15, according to Green Car Reports’ Antony Ingram. I agree with Treehugger’s Derek Markham that if this truly works, the pavilion could end up being a successful demonstration that leads the way for more creative methods to recharge plug-in vehicles.

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We’ll have to wait until the CDA team completes its working version this fall before knowing how well it can perform, but the images sure are striking. Any vehicle under one of those lightweight pavilions looks like it’s about to travel through time. Hopefully into a cleaner, greener future.