the bet for a €29,900 solar car from 2023

Solar panels in cars are not a new idea. Toyota, for example, offered it on its Prius+ years ago. But there are few who would risk making it an important source of energy for an electric car, and not just a small backup generator. Among their ranks are manufacturers such as Lightyear and its sedan 0, which is supposed to be released in late 2022, except that at the €250,000 entry ticket, there is no risk of the public rushing to the gate to make the purchase.

A car covered in panels

On the other side of the spectrum, the German company Sono Motors wants to make the idea accessible with a pragmatic car that would be sold for less than €30,000. A bottom price for a technology that is usually very expensive (even when we talk about real estate) and is not a reliable source of supply: no sun, no electricity… Putting all the chances aside, Sono did not try to mount solar panels on an existing body, but instead build a body around solar panels! In fact, its Sion is covered in them, and its simple design maximizes the flat surfaces where the precious plates can be placed. Roof, fenders, hood, doors and even tailgate, every square centimeter that could be utilized has been. For obvious reasons, the bumpers are exempt, in order to fulfill their role without risking breaking the bank in the event of a collision.

Up to 112 km autonomy achieved

Sono predicts that in Under ideal conditions, the 456 half-cells of panels that cover a car can provide 112 km of range per week on average. Quite a number, which represents a little more than a third oftotal autonomy announced, i.e. 305 km. But of course this is not the only way to load 54 kWh battery by Sono Sion, as the latter accepts 11 kW in alternating current and up to 75 kW in continuous. On the engine side, the German is powered by a single electric motor of 163 hp and 270 Nm of torquewhich should be able to move without too much trouble 1,730 kg advanced by the technical sheet. As for the performances, they are modest, with a maximum speed limited to 140 km/h and a 0 to 100 km/h that claims around 9 sec.

Compare the real autonomy of the best electric cars according to our standardized measurement cycle. Battery capacity, consumption, autonomy, we tell you everything!

Still many uncertainties

It remains to be seen how Sono Motors will manage to make all this viable for the general public, as many questions still arise: Will the solar panels be as efficient as expected? How will this technology age? Can an insurance claim a large additional cost due to the integrated solar panels in the bodywork? In the event of a major impact, where can you get your Sion repaired? and will it be hard to find spare parts? Nothing has therefore been decided yet, but the young German brand, which was born in 2016, remains hopeful. Sion is currently at the prototype stage and the first production models are expected in the second half of 2023.

Only €29,900

Sono Motors has already received more than 19,000 reservations for his solar car, which will be offered €29,900 in Germany. A very tight price, which is also due to the standardization of production: there will be only one model available, without options and necessarily painted in black. But the price is interesting in more ways than one, because even if the UV charging part doesn’t deliver on all its promises, there’s still a 4.47m long electric family car with a 42kWh battery for under €30,000. Even MG can’t boast of doing better without state aid… We will know in the coming months if the Sion benefits from European approval, which the brand hopes in any case because it plans to produce around 43,000 cars per year once Zion is launched. To do this, Sono is partnering with Valmet Automotive, a Finnish manufacturer that has worked with Porsche, Fisker and Volkswagen, among others. See you next year to find out if the young company has succeeded in its (solar) tanning!

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