German solar carmaker Sono Motors has revealed the very first images of the design for its first series solar car destined for a mass market, the Sion.
With nearly 10,000 reservations for the Sion electric car already taken, Sono Motors has refined its initial prototypes that were first revealed in 2017 into a family-friendly solar electric car (SEV) that can boost its range thanks to PV panels integrated into its body.
Able to add a range of up to 34km to the on-board 35kWh battery’s 255km range, the integration of the panels has also guided the design of the solar car.
“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 head of Sono Motors’ R&D for solar integration, Mathieu Baudrit in a statement.
“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.”
These design influences have resulted in a vehicle that is longer, wider and larger than the original prototypes, with five doors and a roomier foot well and interior.
Technically speaking, Sono Motors have used in total 248 high-efficiency, monocrystalline silicon cells that can provide 1272 watts of power with a 21 per cent efficiency.
Although Sono promises up to 34km range using the on-board solar panels (which is just enough for an average daily commute in Australia), it does admit this is drastically reduced depending on conditions.
This is where the 35kWh battery comes in of course, although whether that its charging is emissions-free depends entirely on the home’s energy sources.
Sono Motors has also added bidirectional charging technology, giving it the added feature of being able to power the home with a full battery – and even charge another Sono vehicle should the need arise.
How much does this all come for?
Pre-orders are currently being taken for €500 (about $A800 at today’s rates), and the starting price for the Sion is €16,000 (around $A25,500 converted).
Sono also assures those whose hearts are set on a pure cradle-to-grave zero emissions vehicle that any emissions produced during the making of the Sion production solar car are entirely offset, completing its maker’s visions of a truly eco-friendly form of transport.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.