German startup Sono Motors unveiled its Sion prototype last Monday in Munich, a family car covered entirely in solar panels. Series production is expected to start in the second half of 2023, according to Sono Motors. Christoph Stasche/AFP
The Sion, a family car covered entirely in solar panels, is due to begin series production in the second half of 2023, the German startup that makes it said last Monday during a presentation of its prototype in Munich. After years of development, Sono Motors is currently building a test fleet and plans to begin production next year at Finnish manufacturer Valmet.
With its black body covered in 456 photovoltaic cells and an autonomy of 305 kilometers, the Sion promises to store enough power every week to drive an average of 112 kilometers. It also includes a Vehicle-to-Grid (vehicle-to-grid) system that allows its battery to restore electricity to the grid or another vehicle. With its length of 4.40 meters and an average battery of 54 kWh, the Sion is designed for families as well as self-service car parks.
Sono Motors registered 19,000 bookings with an average deposit of €2,225, which funded the development of the model. Its final price is announced at 25,000 euros. The young brand plans to produce more than 250,000 vehicles in the next seven years. The small manufacturer also intends to sell its solar technology to others, such as French refrigerated trailer group Chéreau, and last Monday unveiled a solar “upgrade” system that allows panels to be added to buses to limit their diesel consumption.
Like Sono Motors, some startups, as well as automotive giants like Toyota, have begun installing solar panels on their new electric vehicles, promising a little extra autonomy.
The Dutch at Lightyear have to release their O model at the end of 2022 with a range of 625 kilometers and a very high price before an affordable version appears that could collide with the Sion in 2024-2025. California-based startup Aptera has 25,000 pre-orders for its first model, scheduled for 2023, a small car with three wheels and two seats. Depending on the version, which costs between $26,000 and $46,000, it shows between 400 and 1,600 kilometers of autonomy.
Source: L Orient Le Jour
I’ve been working in the automotive industry for over a decade, writing about everything from reviews to industry news. I’m currently an author at World Herald News and cover a wide range of topics relating to automobiles.