What it lacks in 1960s Vanagon charm, the Ecocapsule makes up for in innovative design. Designed by Slovakian architecture firm Nice & Wise for a design competition in 2009, the Ecocapsule is an 120-square-foot living space that runs off its self-produced solar and wind energy. A rainwater collection and filtration system provides potable water, and the self-contained pod houses a waste-separating composting toilet, a shower, and a kitchenette as well.
The initial concept received such widespread attention—and demand—that the firm was able to secure financial backing to produce the futuristic tiny homes. The company debuted a model of the capsule in 2015, but the pods just hit the market for the first time. The first order—the company will make 50 this year—will be ready by the end of 2017. You can buy one in advance for $94,000, or wait until 2018, when they’ll begin to mass produce the Ecocapsules and costs will, according to Nice & Wise, go down considerably.
The entire trailer—which is made of fiberglass and aluminum—weighs 2645 pounds when empty, and 4189 pounds with a full water tank. That’s considerably lighter than an average RV, and comparable to a lightweight teardrop trailer. Each Ecocapsule has four small wheels to aid with mobility, and there are few site requirements beyond reasonably flat ground. One person should be able to hitch it up and get on the road in about a half hour, according to the website.
The pods can be towed with most trailers (and an Ecocapsule-specific trailer is on its way to market this year), which makes it a great candidate to replace your built-out van or a classic RV with an easier-on-the-environment alternative. Perhaps more practically, they give people–even those disinclined to, say, construct their own composting toilet—a chance to live in a tiny home. The possibilities extend beyond lifestyle, though. The pods could serve as emergency relief housing or isolated research stations, offering medium-term off-the-grid living (comfortably) for two people.
The interior includes a desk, storage space, and a foldable bed, as well as plenty of windows to make the small space feel more expansive. The company is open to working with customers to customize their Ecocapsules. “We see the Ecocapsule as a platform for innovation and encourage designers to create products specifically for the capsule, such as furniture, safety or power systems, efficient storage units and so on,” they say on their website. “If your design or product meets Ecocapsule’s quality criteria, we will endorse it.” They hope to open an accessory e-store shortly after finishing the first production run.
Photos via Ecocapsule.