A new solar-electric car/RV concept called ECCO is getting a lot of attention this week, and showing many drivers what the future of fuel efficient vehicles may hold, in spite of rising gas prices.
Ecco, designed by the Swiss group NAU, is more than just a zero emissions car powered by the sun. It is also versatile enough to shift from a standard two-seated vehicle into a camper, comparable to the original VW Camper Van. Once expanded into “living mode”, the vehicle gains a set of stairs, a bathroom, a large window, and a sleeping loft. It can also sustain “living mode” simply from the solar panels and sail that pop up when not in motion.
NAU’s description of the vehicle states:
The exterior is a harmonious blend of precision aluminum and glass. Its direct and sculptural form cheats the wind while pleasing the eye.
The only problem with ECCO, as Joe at gas2.org points out, is that it seems to be “vaporware” – that is, a concept that likely will never come to fruition, at least not for the foreseeable future.
While the construction of such a vehicle may be possible, and would certainly shame even the greenest of EVs on the market today, it doesn’t have enough demand to justify the exorbitant amount it would cost to have one on your next road trip.
Regardless, the unique and innovative design could inspire the next generation of auto manufacturers, and for that the Ecco solar-electric concept car should receive credit.