German startup unveils solar-powered family car

German startup, Sono Motors has unveiled its five-seater solar car, the Sion.

The motoring company says it has pioneered solar-powered mobility with the Sion, which it claims is the world’s first “solar electric vehicle (SEV) for the masses”.

In its final production design, the Sion received major enhancements compared to earlier concepts: the exterior and interior now feature fewer lines and clearer surfaces. The Sion’s revamped exterior design includes new headlights and rear lights, a new bottom sideline design, new door handles, a streamlined rear with new camera and 3D lines, and a new charging lid.

Inside, the Sion features a more spacious, cleaner interior with more storage, newly designed front seats and rear bench, and a new steering wheel. The Sion will also offer new colours and trim for interior surfaces.

The outer shell of the Sion consists of 456 integrated solar half-cells and will enable self-sufficiency on short journeys, Sono said. The energy generated by the solar cells is expected to extend the estimated 305 km range of the Sion’s 54 kWh LFP battery by an average of 112 km (up to 245 km) per week, it said.

Using bidirectional charging technology, the car is expected to be able to power electronic devices, the home or other electric cars with an output of up to 11kW.

“We are tremendously excited for Sono Motors’ journey towards providing clean, affordable, and accessible solar transportation for the masses. The premieres of the Sion in its production design represent a giant leap forward in realising our vision for a sustainable world, furthering our mission to reduce carbon emissions,” said Laurin Hahn, co-founder of Sono Motors.

“Production of our series-validation fleet and presenting the Sion in its production design is a further step towards delivering on our promise of an affordable solar-electric passenger vehicle.”

As of 1 July 2022, Sono Motors has over 19,000 active private reservations for the Sion.

The Sion will reportedly cost €25,000 – approximately R425,000 – with a projected net sales volume of approximately €415 million (R7 billion), assuming that all reservations result in sales, the group said.

Sono said the Sion is expected to have one of the lowest total costs of ownership in the medium-size segment, since the proprietary solar technology considerably reduces the necessity to charge the vehicle.

Sono Motors is currently building its fleet of series-validation vehicles in Munich, close to the company’s HQ, ushering in the Sion’s testing program, which has already commenced.

The Sino is set to undergo testing in various conditions in both Europe and the US.

Production is planned for the second half of 2023 via contract manufacturing in Finland, foregoing the need for building its own production facilities.

The company is on track with its plan to diversify its business and is partnering with 19 companies worldwide to implement its solar technology on a variety of vehicle types such as buses, trailers, trucks, and electric transporters said Sono Motors.

We are collaborating with Munich’s city public transport company to support climate protection and a reduction of CO2 emissions in the public transport industry,y said Jona Christians, co-founder of Sono Motors.

“Such partnership projects demonstrate the potential of our technology for the transport sector.”


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German startup unveils solar-powered family car