Midway through 2023, according to the German company Sono Motors, a solar-powered electric vehicle will be available in Europe. To promote its upcoming domestic release, Sono has taken the Sion car on a tour of the United States.
At $25,000, the car is more affordable than the majority of EVs available on the American market. There are 465 integrated solar half-cells on the car’s exterior, including the roof, doors, fenders, and hood. According to the company, 70 miles of weekly driving can be powered solely by solar energy.
However, the Sion has a lithium iron phosphate battery from Chinese electric vehicle and battery giant BYD with a 190-mile range for longer journeys.
A total of 42,000 reservations for the Sion have already been made in Europe, according to Sono, which has a contract with the Finnish company Valmet Automotive to produce the vehicle. By 2030, it is intended to produce 257,000 Sions.
The company’s ability to control costs, according to CEO Laurin Hahn, is first and foremost due to contract manufacturing.
Second, there is only one option available. Any colour you want is available for this car, as long as it’s black. In essence, there are no other options. That’s a significant cost savings. Thirdly, we conduct direct sales online. The fourth is that we lack steel stamping. It’s a very secure car with an aluminium space frame. Fifth, there is no paint on it. It has solar panels on the outside, so it isn’t painted. And we can offer those five things at such low prices.
Sono employs proprietary polymer-based solar technology.
We have more than 30 patents on that, according to Hahn. And there is a significant difference because all other businesses that attempt to integrate solar use primarily glass. Glass is expensive, difficult to produce, and heavy.
a dashboard app that informs drivers in real time how much solar power their vehicle is producing at any given time. Through the app, drivers can also manage power-sharing, which uses the Sion’s battery to charge other electric vehicles (EVs), among other devices, at a price set by the owner.
Although there aren’t any solar-powered cars on the mass market right now, Hahn thinks this technology will catch on soon.
It may eventually become a common technology, in our opinion. Our goal is to install solar on every vehicle because there is no reason not to. It is very economical. It doesn’t significantly raise the cost of the car’s bill of materials. Therefore, there is really no excuse not to incorporate it.