Automotive

Sono Motors releases series design images of solar-integrated Sion family electric

Sono Motors releases series de...
The series design Sion is larger, longer, and wider, than the prototypes before it, and the solar panels integrated into its bodywork offer a maximum of 34 km of extra range
The series design Sion is larger, longer, and wider, than the prototypes before it, and the solar panels integrated into its bodywork offer a maximum of 34 km of extra range
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The Sion features bi-directional charging tech, meaning that a fully topped up vehicle could come to the rescue of an out of charge car by sharing some of its energy
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The Sion features bi-directional charging tech, meaning that a fully topped up vehicle could come to the rescue of an out of charge car by sharing some of its energy
The series design Sion is larger, longer, and wider, than the prototypes before it, and the solar panels integrated into its bodywork offer a maximum of 34 km of extra range
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The series design Sion is larger, longer, and wider, than the prototypes before it, and the solar panels integrated into its bodywork offer a maximum of 34 km of extra range
The Sion boasts up to 250 km of "normal" range per plug-in charge of the 35 kWh battery pack, with fast charging and regen braking supported.
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The Sion boasts up to 250 km of "normal" range per plug-in charge of the 35 kWh battery pack, with fast charging and regen braking supported.
The Sion's 120 kW motor produces 290 Nm of torque, and can go from standstill to 100 km/h in under 9 seconds, on its way up to a top speed of 140 km/h
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The Sion's 120 kW motor produces 290 Nm of torque, and can go from standstill to 100 km/h in under 9 seconds, on its way up to a top speed of 140 km/h
The Sion is expected to be able to comfortably tow up to 750 kg
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The Sion is expected to be able to comfortably tow up to 750 kg

Germany's Sono Motors has today inched a little closer to production of the Sion family EV first announced in 2016. After opening pre-orders for the car in July, 2017, the startup announced a substantial price bump in November last year. Now the first series design images have been released.

"After unveiling our first prototype in summer 2017, we continued to develop our solar integration technology, which we have been working on since 2016," said Sono's Mathieu Baudrit. "The production vehicle will feature full-surface integrated solar cells that are embedded in hard-wearing, resilient polymer and that contribute to the vehicle's design aesthetic thanks to optimized color matching."

Where previous prototypes kind of looked as though the panels were an afterthought, the pre-production design has those solar panels almost seamlessly integrated into the roof, doors, hood and rear, and they're reported capable of charging the batteries with up to 34 km (21 mi) of extra range. Sono says that this is far above the average German commute of 17 km, so workers could potentially get to the office on energy harvested by the solar panels alone, though we'd be inclined to ensure that our route included a charging station just in case.

The Sion's 120 kW motor produces 290 Nm of torque, and can go from standstill to 100 km/h in under 9 seconds, on its way up to a top speed of 140 km/h
The Sion's 120 kW motor produces 290 Nm of torque, and can go from standstill to 100 km/h in under 9 seconds, on its way up to a top speed of 140 km/h

The Sion boasts up to 250 km (155 mi) of "normal" range per plug-in charge of the 35 kWh battery pack, with fast charging and regen braking supported. Its 120 kW motor produces 290 Nm (214 lb.ft) of torque, and can go from standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under 9 seconds, on its way up to a top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph). It's also expected to be able to comfortably tow up to 750 kg (1,653 lb).

The five door Sion has grown bigger than the prototype before it too, and has been treated to a more emphasized rear end. The 4,290 x 1,830 x 1,670 mm (168.9 x 72 x 65.7 in) dimensions make for a larger footwell and extra interior space, as well as making room for an additional side rear window panel.

The cabin features a natural air filtration system that makes use of a special moss integrated into the dashboard. There's a 10 inch infotainment display panel with USB and Bluetooth connectivity and, in addition to speed and charge status, the instrument cluster also shows continuous data on how many extra kilometers the PV panels are generating. Safety features include ABS, driver and passenger airbags and electronic stability control.

The Sion features bi-directional charging tech, meaning that a fully topped up vehicle could come to the rescue of an out of charge car by sharing some of its energy
The Sion features bi-directional charging tech, meaning that a fully topped up vehicle could come to the rescue of an out of charge car by sharing some of its energy

A companion app will be released that will allow owners to offer their cars for ride-sharing. And the Sion features a bi-directional charging feature, so a fully topped up vehicle could come to the rescue of an out of charge car by sharing some of its energy, or maybe just supply juice to on-site power tools.

Folks who have already pro-ordered a Sion – around 9,500 of them – are being given the opportunity to vote on certain design aspects ahead of full production. When that happens, and that's still something of an unknown, the final cost of the family EV will be €25,500 (about US$28,865).

Source: Sono Motors

6 comments
paul314
Under $30K sounds pretty nice for that package. Meanwhile, even if the car can't harvest a full 20 miles worth of charge every day, that means it's going to be able to go a long time between charges. Say you have a 20-mile commute, and on average you get 10 miles worth of sun every day. That's going to be a little more than two weeks before needing a charge, and about 300 miles of driving on that 155-mile battery.
Fran
Never understood why other EV maker alway come up with the excuse that solar panels on a car won’t add enough range. I like this idea a lot and also the power sharing, tool plug and eco filter system. Had hopes for a bit more daring design, but this is probably more what most buyers want, especially since this is not a performance car. Drives nice by the way. A pity the batteries have made the car more expensive. Seems that the funding is in order so let’s expect to see this car on the road in a few years. Good luck!
SimonClarke
I feel that this car is as much of a game changer as the Tesla S was when it was launched. Not only is this a personal car but it is also already set up for a city fleet car, vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to grid. this is of course in addition to it's solar capability. Tradesmen who need a 240v power source have one with this car when ever they need it so no generators are required. I agree that some more styling would be nice but considering this started of as a project with a small group of students, I think it is amazing.
Robin Paulsen
So far only computer generated images has been shown, no production prototype. At the main presentation in mid-2017, the goals were quite clear. First goal: 5,000 reservations to enable production in the first place. At the end of 2017, the contract manufacturer should be revealed. Well, the 5,000 reservations were not reached until mid-2018, a little later than expected. But according to the original timeline, the contract manufacturer should have been revealed long ago. I do not think that everything is going according to plan at Sono Motors. They are currently in the "development hell" (far from the "production hell"). A lot of ads for engineers to construct the car, while they at the moment don't seem to have any engineers working yet. For me, the whole company Sono Motors is still too much in the project stage. No concrete facts. And the little we know is also rather disappointing.
Mzungu_Mkubwa
So, while at work, my vehicle sits out in the parking lot for ≈ 9 hours per day. Perhaps a clever method of maximizing solar collection, either by passive means such as folding out panels, or active solar-tracking, could be developed? How about mounting some reflective panels that bounce more light onto the panels? The car doesn't have to look good or be aerodynamic while planted in its parking spot, right? It merely must survive every-day weather and passing pedestrians... Maximize its efficiency to make it useful during this otherwise wasted time-frame, y'all!
McDesign
That mountain lake picture is so romantic - guess that's why they're doing what they're doing . . .