Sono Motors has revealed the production design of its Sion solar EV

During the inaugural ‘Celebrating the Sun’ community event held in Munich today, Sono Motors first launched the production design for the upcoming Sion solar electric vehicle. And not to be outdone, Sono Motors went on to further global show, unveiling a new “solar bus array” that can be retrofitted into existing city buses to help reduce carbon emissions.

Sono Motors is a German automotive startup founded in 2016 that focuses specifically on solar electric vehicles and solar cell technology. By incorporating special solar panels into the exterior of the flagship Sion SEV, it can collect an additional 70 to 150 miles of range per week from the sun alone.

It’s been a long but progressive journey for Sion, which began as a venture out of a parking garage by co-founders Lauren Hahn and Jonah Christiansis. we are in Electric Sion first covered on her first iteration when she was still crowdfunding.

Since then, we’ve since seen a second-generation prototype and battery upgrades, not to mention several partnerships to integrate Sono’s solar technology into other vehicles, as well as two-way charging solutions for the home.

Last spring, Sono shared that the Sion Solar EV has entered the sequential verification phase, which consists of thirty-seven SEVs, some of which are complete chassis and some of which are just white chassis for testing purposes. Among these validation vehicles, a production design appeared.

As Sono Motors celebrates the sun in Germany today, it has officially unveiled its latest upgrade to its Sion solar EV as it moves closer to serial production.

Sono Motors’ Solar EV has reached the production design stage

Sono unveiled the revamped solar electric vehicle to a crowd of over 2,000 people in Munich today, during its inaugural ‘Celebrating the Sun’ event. Mid-90s weather () and record highs across Europe could be a timely reminder and a reminder of climate change, echoing the need for sustainable solutions like solar electric vehicles louder than ever.

According to Sono Motors, the Scion’s final production design received significant improvements to both the exterior and interior, including fewer lines and sharper surfaces. The exterior design includes new headlights (with a new daytime running light bar) and taillights, a new lower profile design, a new rear camera, and a revamped charging hood at the front.

Additionally, you’ll notice new door handles (shown above) that wear the phrase “Made to Share.” There are small messages printed about the new solar electric vehicle in its production design, one of the new items that Sono Motors co-founder and CEO, Laurin Hahn, was particularly excited about when we interviewed him:

I just saw a picture from a studio shoot with Juna for the first time and we thought, ‘Wow, that’s cool! We love it. We love this new design. And these are just design changes. On the engineering side, there’s a lot more, too.

It’s great to hear the real excitement from the founders as they watch what was once a solar-powered dream come true. Here are some of those engineering specifications:

  • Sono’s solar electric vehicle outer shell consists of 456 seamlessly integrated semi-solar cells
    • Solar can extend the estimated range (305 km / 190 mi) an average of 112 km (70 mi) per week, but can reach an additional 245 km (152 mi) per week
  • Sion production design contains a 54 kWh LFP battery
    • Maximum charging capacity of 11 kW (AC) and 75 kW (DC)
    • Sono says German passengers will be able to charge their Sion for up to four times less than EVs of the same class and a similarly sized battery.
  • Sion solar EV can provide bi-directional charging to power electronic devices, homes or other electric vehicles at an AC output of up to 11 kW

In our interview, we asked Han about bi-directional charging and its on-grid (V2G) capabilities where a Sion owner can realistically collect free energy from the sun, store it in their solar vehicle, and then sell it back to the electric company during peak hours.

The co-founder and team Sono said that V2G is definitely the hope one day, but there is a lot of red tape ahead of that. With this car delivered in the EU, there will be dozens of different markets, each with their own government and regulations before anyone can sell the excess power to the grid. However, the technology is already in the production SEV design and we hope one day it will be activated via an OTA update.

Next steps

Sono Motors is currently building its fleet of series validation solar electric vehicles in Bertradt near its headquarters in Munich. Testing is already underway and will continue under harsh conditions in the European Union and the United States. This will include crash tests and improved driving dynamics on public roads, while also improving solar technology. Speaking of this topic…

Source: Sono Motors

Sono Motors unveils its solar bus array

In addition to introducing the production design version of the Scion Solar EV, Sono Motors celebrated the sun with its second world premiere – the Solar Bus Collection. This is a fully modified solar solution that can fit most 12m public transit buses in Europe to help reduce diesel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Although the Solar Bus Kit can’t make a diesel bus completely emissions-free (yet), it can partially power onboard systems like HVAC to save fuel and emissions at the same time. According to Sono, its range can save up to 1,500 liters of diesel and up to four tons of CO2 per bus annually. All from solar panels with a total area of ​​about 8 square metres. Jona Christians, Co-Founder and CEO of Sono, spoke:

Our solar technology is already contributing to climate protection and reducing CO2 emissions for many partners. In Munich, for example, we cooperate with the city’s public transport company, thus supporting the city’s clean air goals. These partnership projects demonstrate the potential of our technology for the transportation sector. We are proud to celebrate the unveiling of our new solar product, the “Solar Bus Kit”, which will truly advance our mission of bringing every solar powered vehicle to the next level. The all-new solar bus range allows us to enhance our solar business by maximizing the scalability of our technology into a huge market: the public and private bus fleet segment. It is also a milestone on our way to a world without fossil fuels.

Sono Motors subsidiary Sono Solar Technology continues to expand customized B2B solutions to a group that now consists of 19 partners worldwide including MAN Truck & Bus and CHEREAU’s Reefer Group. Sono Motors said it will share more details about the array of solar buses during IAA Transportation in September.

Speaking with the Sono team in our interview, they are very invested in continuing to build their two-pillar business approach, developing and building solar electric vehicles, but also applying their solar technology to other vehicles. From day one, promoting sustainability and zero emissions has been the goal, and Sono Motors delivers a double punch on both fronts.

As of July 1, Sono Motors has reported more than 19,000 bookings for its Sion solar EV, which equates to net sales of €417 million (about $426 million) if each of those bookings comes to fruition. Despite price increases earlier this year, Sono still expects the Sion to have one of the lowest total costs of ownership (TCOs) in the midsize car segment.

Production is still on track to begin in the second half of 2023 at Valmet’s manufacturing facilities in Finland. As the two companies work together to ramp up Sion production, they aim to produce 257,000 SEV within seven years. Here is the Sono Motors Sion solar EV production design launch video:

Take Electric

Even in the less than two years I’ve been following Sono Motors, it has come a long way. I was in Munich earlier this month and had the opportunity to be one of the first (if not the first?) people outside the company to see Sion’s production design up close.

After seeing the two prototypes inside and out inside the Sono HQ lobby, I can say this latest iteration is a major upgrade, particularly in terms of being production ready. It looked more polished and professional, from the new headlights to the revamped cabin. Also, solar panels are almost crazy to become unnoticeable inside the external panels, especially from afar. This is something the team told me they are constantly working on improving.

If you look at the interior photos above, you’ll notice a new component across the top of the moss screen. The moss itself can now be removed, and Sion owners will be able to customize their terrarium to their liking, adding a new layer of customization to the Solar EV. The new component above is made from recycled materials (I’d still like to see more of that, but Sono is definitely trying to cut costs for consumers).

This is something I really liked about the company’s approach to SEVs. When Laurin Hahn gave me a tour of Bertradt, many of the essential ingredients were manufactured by third parties, and why wouldn’t they? I love that Sono Motors is trying to revolutionize electric vehicles by adding solar technology, but not trying to reinvent the whole “wheel”, so to speak, by building an entirely new vehicle from the ground up.

If getting door hinges elsewhere saves cost and gives the Sono team more time to work on what they do best, I think it’s efficient and smart. Solar electric cars are already a nascent technology, and adoption will take some time, so being able to offer a family-friendly Scion that doesn’t break the bank will be vital.

Sono understands this and is doing everything in its power to keep costs down while still delivering the highest quality SEV. I am looking forward to my first driving test.

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