Sono Motors’ solar panel car is ugly but exciting

Several young electric car manufacturers want to tame the sun to ensure the autonomy of their vehicles. For just over €25,000, Sono Motors wants to revolutionize the market in its own way with the Sion.

German company Sono Motors unveiled on July 25, 2022 the final version, ready to go into production, of its first partially rechargeable electric vehicle that uses solar energy. The Sion aims to be the first affordable Solar Electric Vehicle (SEV) to hit the market from 2023.

This news will not compete in the category of the most beautiful car of the year, nor the one that offers the most efficient design, as for the Lightyear 0. No, the Sion is positioned as a mass vehicle that uses the solar energy as a possible power. source of mobility. It is therefore due to its technical, practical and affordable aspect that we will be interested in this news.

A body covered with 456 solar cells

Aiming for self-sufficiency on short daily journeys, the Sion offers an average of up to 112 km of autonomy per week thanks to its solar panels. Its body is covered with monocrystalline silicon cells on the hood, fenders, sides, roof and rear of the vehicle. This solar cell technology should make it possible to charge the vehicle even under cloudy skies. In the best sunshine conditions, the Sun could offer up to 245 km of weekly autonomy for this Sion.

Recharge after the sunshine in Sion. // Source: Sono Motors

The 456 cells distributed throughout the body are covered with a resistant polymer to prevent any premature degradation of the cells due to the weather and gender problems or parking.

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Different body layers of Sion. // Source: Sono Motors

And for the rest of the model’s features?

The Sion is a 4.47m long vehicle, which is about the size of a Kia Niro, to give an element of comparison. The luggage compartment has a capacity of up to 650 litres. It is a vehicle intended for daily use by a family. The solar cells do not seem to weigh too much on the mass of the vehicle, its weight is 1730 kg.

Sono Motors offers on its model a 120 kW (163 hp) electric motor with a maximum torque of 270 Nm. It all gives a rather shy 0 to 100 km/h in 9 seconds. However, the car is limited to a maximum speed of 140 km/h.

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Sono Motors Zion on the road. // Source: Sono Motors

The Sion has a 54 kWh LFP battery, which should offer up to 305 km of autonomy wltp. In addition to solar, Sion accepts up to 11 kW AC charging and up to 75 kW DC.

The interior of the Sion seems quite sober, bringing a touch of originality to the dashboard with a touch of green. The materials seem quite basic, but at the price offered this is not necessarily surprising. We can still see a 10-inch central screen and another for driving controls. The Sono Motors car is designed to be used in car sharing (self-service car) and carpooling through its use.

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Zion’s interior. // Source: Sono Motors

Tariff and outlook

The selling price of the Sion is currently estimated at only 25,126 euros excluding tax in Germany. With its solar charging, it should offer one of the lowest total cost of ownership for cars of this size.

The brand stated that it had already registered more than 19,000 bookings with a deposit of €2,225. Within 7 years, Sono Motors estimates that it will have produced more than 250,000 examples of its Sion.

The brand also plans to equip other vehicles with its solar solutions. Sono Motors also presented its solar kit for buses during this presentation on July 25, 2022.

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Other projects of the Sono Motors brand. // Source: Sono Motors

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