Sono Motors, a solar-powered mobility company, has celebrated the debut of the world's first affordable solar electric vehicle (SEV), the Sion, in its production design, and the unveiling of its novel 'Solar Bus Kit', a scalable B2B retrofit solution that reduces fuel consumption and inner-city greenhouse gas emissions, thereby contributing to climate protection.
"We are tremendously excited for Sono Motors' journey towards providing clean, affordable, and accessible solar transportation for the masses. The premieres of the Sion in its production design and the 'Solar Bus Kit' represent a giant leap forward in realizing our vision for a sustainable world, furthering our mission to reduce carbon emissions," said Laurin Hahn, co-founder and CEO of Sono Motors. "Production of our series-validation fleet and presenting the Sion in its production design is a further step towards delivering on our promise of an affordable solar-electric passenger vehicle. In addition, business diversification through the establishment of our B2B solar business as a strategic pillar helps us to achieve our key targets. We are scaling up our Sono Solar business with our new 'Solar Bus Kit' and have successfully increased our B2B customer base."
In its final production design, the Sion received major enhancements compared to earlier concepts: the exterior and interior now feature fewer lines and clearer surfaces. The Sion's revamped exterior design includes new headlights and rear lights, a new bottom sideline design, new door handles, a streamlined rear with new camera and 3D lines, and a new charging lid. Inside, the Sion features a more spacious, cleaner interior with more storage, newly designed front seats and rear bench, and a new steering wheel. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Electric Vehicles: Land, Sea & Air 2022-2042.
The outer shell of the Sion will consist of 456 seamlessly integrated solar half-cells and will enable self-sufficiency on short journeys. The energy generated by the solar cells is expected to extend the estimated 305 km range of the Sion's 54 kWh LFP battery by an average of 112 km per week. Commuters in German metropolitan areas will have to charge their Sion up to four times less than conventional electric cars of the same vehicle class with a similar battery size. The battery will allow for a maximum charging capacity of up to 75 kW (DC) and 11 kW (AC). Bidirectional charging technology complements the car's solar integration and is designed to turn the Sion into a sustainable power plant on wheels that is expected to be able to power electronic devices, the home or other electric cars with an output of up to 11 kW.
Sono Motors is currently building its fleet of series-validation vehicles in Munich close to the company's HQ, ushering in the Sion's testing program, which has already commenced. In the coming months, this vehicle generation will undergo uncompromising practical tests under extreme conditions in both Europe and the U.S. This includes series validation, homologation, crash tests, testing in different climates, optimizing solar technology and safeguarding, as well as refining driving dynamics on test tracks and on public roads.
As of 1 July 2022, Sono Motors has over 19,000 active private reservations for the Sion, with an average down-payment of €2,225 and equivalent net sales volume of about €415 million, assuming that all reservations result in sales. At an estimated net sales price point of just 25,126 euro, the Sion is expected to have one of the lowest TCOs (total cost of ownership) in the medium-size segment since the proprietary solar technology considerably reduces the necessity to charge the vehicle.
Start of production is planned for the second half of 2023 via contract manufacturing in Finland, foregoing the need for building its own production facilities. Sono Motors' partner Valmet Automotive has extensive expertise in manufacturing for high-tech OEMs. After a ramp-up period the partners aim to produce approximately 257,000 Sion vehicles within seven years.
Solar Bus Kit: B2B retrofit solution to enable sustainable mobility for commercial transport
The Solar Bus Kit is a versatile and straightforward solution, optimized for the most common 12-meter public transport bus types on the European market, including Mercedes-Benz Citaro and MAN Lion City. Sono Motors will offer a complete and efficient retrofit solution for bus fleet operators who have a compelling need to reduce diesel consumption and CO2 emissions to meet their sustainability goals. The Solar Bus Kit allows subsystems like the HVAC to be partially powered by renewable energy thereby saving fuel, CO2, and costs. The Kit can save up to 1,500 liters of diesel and up to 4 tonnes of CO2 per bus per year from the ~1.4 kW peak installation with a total size of about 8 square-meters of solar panels. Bus fleet operators stand to see a potential payback time of approximately 3-4 years, depending on days in operation and fuel prices. Sono Motors will announce more details during IAA Transportation in September.
"Our solar technology is already contributing to climate protection and reducing CO2 emissions for numerous partners. In Munich, for example, we are collaborating with the city's public transport company and are thereby supporting the city's clean air targets. Such partnership projects demonstrate the potential of our technology for the transport sector," said Jona Christians, co-founder and CEO of Sono Motors. "We're proud to celebrate the unveiling of our novel solar product, the 'Solar Bus Kit', which will truly push our mission of making every vehicle a solar vehicle to the next level. The all-new Solar Bus Kit allows us to strengthen our solar business by maximizing the scalability of our technology to a huge market: the public and private bus fleet sector. It also represents a milestone on our path toward a world without fossil fuels."
Sono Motors is well on track with its plan to diversify its business and has currently delivered customized solar solutions to several B2B customers. As of today, the Munich-based solar-mobility specialist is partnering with 19 companies worldwide - including MAN Truck & Bus and CHEREAU - to implement its Sono Solar Technology on a variety of vehicle architectures such as buses, trailers, trucks, and electric transporters. Depending on the use case, size and type of the solar integration, Sono Motors' lightweight and adaptable solution allows customers in the transportation industry to cut costs and emissions throughout their fleets.
Source and top image: Sono Motors