Here it is, the long-anticipated first real-life look at the prototype of the Sion, a battery- and solar-powered vehicle from German startup Sono Motors. Financed by a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo, the project has now taken its next step on the path to full realisation.
Presented at a release event in front of an enthusiastic audience, it was an opportunity to see some of features that we have written about previously.
Being touted as the first electric car that can be recharged (to a notable degree) through solar power, the exterior of the vehicle is equipped with 330 integrated solar cells fitted to the roof, both sides, the hood, and the rear. In good and sunny conditions, the panels can generate enough electricity each day to give the car an additional 18 miles of range on top of the battery distance.
The battery itself comes in two versions — a 14.4 kWh pack that will take you 50 miles, or a 30 kWh pack that will take up to 120 miles. In this context, the extra mileage given by the solar power really is a boon. Customers are being given the option of leasing the battery, in a similar way to how battery leasing with the Renault Zoe works, or of buying the battery outright. Their reason for doing this is that Sono expects batteries to have dropped in price by the time Sion is ready for production, and they would like to pass this saving on to customers.
One very interesting feature of the Sion is the incorporation of moss in the dashboard to act as an air filtering system. It filters up for 20% of fine dust particles, as well as looking really cool. Another appealing feature of the Sion is bidirectional charging, from which the car can actually supply power to common electronic devices that use a household plug that are up to 2.7 kW.
Sono Motors need to generate 5,000 pre-orders to be able to start the manufacturing (OEM). There are no figures available at present on the number of pre-orders that have been made already. The Sion costs €16,000, excluding the battery, with discounts available for pre-orders on the company website.
The company told CleanTechnica and The Beam that among their investors are: Marita Hansen (eProjekt TNS GmbH, eTourEurope, eRUDA), Matthias Willenbacher (founder of juwi), Böllinger (specialist in manufacturing innovative prototypes and producing development parts, as well as niche and special series production runs – primarily in the field of drive engineering).