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Live Off The Grid With This Crazy Self-Powered Pod

Wind. Solar. Rain collection. And room for two to get away.

We all have our fantasies about lighting a match to our careers and going off grid. But they come to a grinding halt as soon as we tally the logistical hassle and financial toll of building a house in the middle of nowhere.

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Which is exactly what makes the Ecocapsule, a late stage prototype by the Slovakia-based Nice Architects, so appealing. It’s a two-person pod that you can tow (or even pull by animal) to the middle of nowhere, and thanks to solar panels on top, a built-in wind turbine, and an integrated rain-collection system, it can sustain your lifestyle at you-probably-won’t-die levels while offering unlimited charging for your Kindle.

“It was designed as a self-contained system which is able to sustain long periods of time without external resources,” explains studio partner Igor Zacek. “Something in terms of Swiss-army knife–it packs everything you need.”

The space includes a folding bed for two, a flushing toilet and hot shower, a kitchenette with a sink that filters rainwater, a dining or working counter, and storage. To eliminate a coffin effect, it features two, large, openable windows on each side of the capsule. The company recommends that people live in the pods for about a year at a time.

The exterior shell is made from plastic, which keeps production prices low. Plus it makes the pod a lot lighter and easier to transport than, say, an Airstream. (That metallic finish is actually a 3M foil wrap, meaning buyers could customize their capsules if they’d like.) And the capsules are sized to fit into a standard freight shipping container, so they can be delivered worldwide for a few thousand dollars.

Right now, the pods need to be towed to their destination by car on a wheeled platform–not very eco-friendly. “[The wheelless build] is result of our professional focus as architects,” Zacek explains. “It was built as a house.” That said, Nice Architects realized that wheels made sense, too, so they’ve planned a wheeled version as well.

The Ecocapsule is a second-generation prototype, and the firm doesn’t plan to release pricing information until it has something on the production line. Whether you’re shelling out a few thousand dollars for it or $20,000, living utility bill-free for a year could do a lot to subsidize your capsule’s mortgage payments.

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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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