It’s a house Jim but not as we know it
Planners usually allow you to build a pod within the curtilage of your house. This one follows the rules but it comes on wheels. So what’s the point of that? Well for a start there are no foundations to worry about, just a bit of hardstanding will do. Then there is the ability to drive it; an all electric 4×4 chassis enables you to go for a trundle, down to the pond to watch the sunset for example. Steering is done from the front or from outside.
With the front wheels turned to full lock the whole house can rotate to track the sun, making full use of the 4.8kW photovoltaic array. So yes, it’s all off grid and only needs to dock occasionally to empty some tanks and to refill others.
Design – To make it all really feasible the design is based on off the shelf parts. So the house part is a modified 20′ shipping container supplied from a specialist constructor. The chassis part is from a 110″ Landrover with all the steering, gearbox and axles – a simple electric motor to drive it (cheap 240V, nothing fancy). Wheels are small and fat from a lawn tractor.
The solar panels are offset to make a canopy over the front porch.
Is it worth all the bother? Absolutely, for rental to eco enthusiasts this is a thrilling bit of kit. Imagine their delight when their pod comes round the corner to pick them up and take them to some lovely spot – all filmed from various points to give them a memento of an amazing experience. You can charge a lot more for that than if you were just offering a shed (I think they call them shepherd’s huts these days)….. is this a self powered off-grid shepherd’s hut then?
If you want to use this on your piece of land you might put a 3-point hitch on the back and call it a tractor – great to sit in a comfy chair while you mow the lawn!
N.B. With proper PV panel dimensions this is a preliminary sketch to see what it might look like.
Part of the drama is the house slowly turning to face the sun a few times a day.
12 panels, 4.8kW makes another 14% through tracking the sun so it’s effectively a 5.5Kw array. Makes a useful UPS with it’s batteries. This machine will easily run your heat pump so it’s going to solve your heating problem too – at least an extra £1,000 in your pocket every year from that. Once hooked up to your main house the power can flow either way so the mini-split heater in the driveable house will always be useable, even after prolonged dark winter days.
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