If you've ignored the naysayers, saved enough money and splashed out on an electric car, you're probably now looking for a dedicated home charging station. If that's the case, look no further -- architect Giancarlo Zema has teamed up with Luminexence to design a bonkers yet beautiful leaf-shaped example known as the Lotus.
The Lotus -- no relation to Norwich's premier manufacturer of mid-life crisis mobiles -- is a giant solar-powered piece of faux flora that delivers pure, carbon-neutral electricity captured from the Sun. It comes with night-time lights plus an optional information screen, seat and car charging port.
The Lotus is a modular system that's designed in a variety of colours and sizes. The smallest component, a single-leaf design, can be supplied on its own, or mated to other single-leaf units to form double, triple or quad leaf setups. A large leaf, which provides 19 square metres of photovoltaic panels, is also available. Both leaf styles can be combined to resemble a curious water lily configuration.
Sadly, as imaginative and as attractive as the Lotus may be, it's not particularly effective. The smallest model doesn't produce anywhere near enough power to be of any real use when recharging an electric car, and would need to be connected to a separate mains outlet, which sort of defeats the object.
Still, there's no denying it's an interesting concept and one that might be of use in some scenarios. We'd be quite happy installing one of these things at the bottom of the garden and letting it feed juice to a shed, or using one to power an information point in a public park.
Have a look at the video below to see the Lotus in action and let us know what you think in the comments below or on our Facebook page.