MINILUX Concept Car Serves the Grid When Parked

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Designed by Jukka Rautiainen,MINILUX is a concept vehicle targeted for urban dwellers who, use theirown car mainly for leisure purposes and rely on other forms oftransport in their daily mobility. Due to its nature as a leisurevehicle it spends long periods of time unused. When parked outside, thevehicle uses high-efficiency photovoltaic panels to harvest solarenergy. It is plugged to a domestic or public access point that enablestwo-way energy exchange.

Whenthe car’s batteries are fully charged it can feed the excess energy tothe main grid and similarly substitute the lack of solar energy bycharging from the main grid just like a regular plug-in electricvehicle. Annually the vehicle would have a solar powered range of 9000miles in Central Europe and US East Coast and up to 16000 miles insunny locations such as California, Australia and Middle-East.

Thecar is powered by high efficiency Gallium Arsenide solar cells,currently used in several space applications, solar racers and in someterrestrial solar parks. These high efficiency solar panels areincorporated to opening roof panels, doubling the roof’s surface areaas well as to solar curtains that cover the entire window glazing fromthe inside.

Thecar is optimised for two occupants with leisure gear, but unlike inmost 2+2-seaters, the car has an appearance of a two-seater with alarge, yet concealed boot as a default. When needed, the backseat isformed by pressing down a part of the ‘deck’ behind the front seats.The backseat mechanism as well as solar curtains makes use of shapememory plastics.

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Tinytrusses made out of these shape memory plastics straighten and contracton electric impulse inside the material, making the component takedifferent shapes, staying rigid when the electricity is turned off.Embedding nano-scale functionality to material itself decreases theweight, space and need for maintenance as the number of mechanicalparts is reduced.

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Samephilosophy of adding function to material continues in the wheels thatare airless, and as such have improved handling, durability,energy-efficiency and reduced need for maintenance. Their extremely lowprofile and honeycomb structure with 4 personalisation elements alsogive the vehicle a distinctive appearance.

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Thanks: [Jukka Rautiainen]