Sono is also looking to implement its solar technology for other car makers.
Solar-powered cars aren’t just a pipedream according to German start-up Sono Motors, because this is the firm’s new Sion and it could reach customers as early as next year. Sono has been working on the Sion from 2017 onwards and since then has totalled over 19,000 reservations made up of deposits averaging 2,225 Euros (AUD$3245).
Sono says the Sion is expected to cost around 25,126 Euros (AUD$36,500), making it a rival for the cheapest EVs, such as the Fiat 500e which is coming to Australia. Although Sono is based in Munich, the Sion will be built in Finland and it aims to produce 257,000 Sion vehicles by the end of the decade.
Helping to generate power for the Sion are 456 solar ‘half-cells’ that are incorporated into most of the body panels. The only panels that don’t feature the solar cells are the front and rear bumpers. Sono says these cells will extend the Sion’s estimated 305km range by an average of 110km per week.
The Sion’s battery is a 54kWh unit which is charged by either the solar energy captured by the cells or through a charger that offers speeds up to 75kW. The battery is able to divert energy to power electronic devices and even other electric cars with an output up to 11kW.
The Sion is pitched as a family-friendly MPV and compared to previous concepts we can see new headlights and rear lights, cleaner surfacing down the side, new bumpers and a charging cap at the front. It’s an angular exterior design mixed with a minimalistic interior. Inside there are two screens on the dash and an unusual foggy screen underneath. Elsewhere the cabin looks fairly conventional, despite the atypical powertrain.
The car was unveiled at the first “Celebrate the Sun” event in Munich alongside Sono’s other creation – a ‘Solar Bus Kit’ which is a retrofitted solar panel kit that can be added to existing buses to power things such as the air conditioning and electrics.