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 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.

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

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