German solar electric vehicle manufacturer Sono Motors announced Tuesday that it had successfully crowdfunded €53 million ($A85 million) to finance the company, exceeding its target of €50 million thanks in large part to reservations made for the Sion – the company’s first solar electric vehicle.
Sono Motors said its crowdfunding campaign, launched in December, had raised an average of one million euros per day, 75% of which came through reservations placed for the Sion, while another 19% came from existing and new investors, and a final 6% from loans and donations.
“€53 million, invested by the centre of society, for the forward-looking and sustainable mobility concept of a start-up is a clear signal, also directed at politicians to make adjustments,” said Laurin Hahn, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors.
“Electro-mobility and the support of young companies in Germany has to be pursued faster and more vigorously. We at Sono Motors now see it as our responsibility to live up to the trust placed in us by our supporters. Together with the community, we will continue on our path to bring the Sion into production as quickly as possible.”
Sono Motors plans to produce a total of 260,000 of its Sion solar electric vehicle (SEV) over a period of eight years, using the former Saab plant in Trollhättan, Sweden. There are currently 13,000 reservations for the Sion which the company obviously hopes will increase over time.
The Sion SEV bills itself as the world’s first Solar Electric Vehicle, boasting 248 solar cells “seamlessly integrated into the body” of the vehicle, meaning that it can charge its battery during the day while out and about.
Sono Motors explains that, “In Germany, for example, up to 34 kilometers of additional range per day can be generated purely by solar energy.”
The Sion also includes a bidirectional onboard charger meaning that the vehicle can share its power to help recharge other electric vehicles.
The Sion’s liquid-cooled battery will have a capacity of 35kWh and provide a driving range of up to 255km on a single charge – depending on the weather and your driving style.
Sono Motors is also making a stab at complete sustainability for its Sion, committing to offset all unavoidable CO₂ emissions produced during the manufacturing process, and using 100% renewable energy to power operations.
The company’s decision to move towards a more transparent financing strategy meant that it had to push production of the first run of Sion solar EVs into September 2021.
“We realised again and again over the past few months that we have entirely different goals to traditional financial investors,” said Hahn in explanation back in December.
“Aggressive growth and quick profits are difficult to reconcile with a sustainable corporate and vehicle concept which is designed to give access to affordable and eco-friendly electro-mobility throughout.
“In addition, providing start-ups that have a capital-intensive business model with venture capital does not work in Germany, neither in the initial stages nor at the growth stage.
“Had we relied solely on funding measures or the German market environment, Sono Motors would probably not exist in its current form. Urgent action is required from the politicians in this area.
“It should be possible to implement such a future project in Germany and lead it to economic success. We will continue to fight anyhow. For climate-friendly mobility and for our reservation holders.”