Sono Motors, the Munich-based developer of its ground-breaking Sion SEV (Solar Electric Vehicle), announced on Thursday that it had decided, after consultation with its community, to upgrade the vehicle’s battery to a longer range 54kWh battery that would eliminate the use of cobalt, nickel, and manganese.
Sono Motors unveiled its Sion solar car earlier this year during the 2021 virtual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), touting its 120kW motor offering 270Nm torque and a maximum speed of 140km/hr. Integrating 248 polymer solar panels embedded in the car’s exterior, the Sion’s PV capacity is supposedly able to generate enough charge for up to 34-kilometres.
At the time, Sono Motors announced that the vehicle would also include a 35kWh liquid-cooled battery that would offer up to 255-kilometres of driving range.
However, on Thursday, Sono Motors revealed that they were now opting for a more powerful 54kWh battery, offering a battery-only range of up to 305km, and raising its maximum charging power to 75kW.
Combined with what Sono Motors expects to be a weekly average of 112km generated by the Sion’s solar roof, that puts the Sion well above the 400-kilometre range mark.
This is big news, considering that the company is billing the Sion as a solar car “you can really afford” and pricing it from €21,429 (ex-VAT) which would convert to around $A34,000, excluding GST, shipping costs, etc.
Compare that to the MG ZS EV Essence SUV, Australia’s most affordable EV, with a total drive away price of $43,990, or to the Volkswagen ID.3, which the company recently promised would sell in Australia at around the $40,000 mark.
Importantly, Sono Motors’ new battery choice not only guarantees more power and range but is in fact a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, considered to be one of the safest on the market and completely dispensing with the use of cobalt, nickel, and manganese.
“In our survey, more than 90% of our existing reservation holders voted for a more powerful battery,” said Laurin Hahn, CEO of Sono Motors.
“This move is just another example of how Sono Motors is continuing to drive innovation and sustainability, whilst responding to the wishes of our Community throughout the development of the Sion. Boasting greater capacity, greater range, faster charging, enhanced safety features and no cobalt, nickel or manganese usage, this improved battery will strengthen the Sion’s unique market position even further.”
The new LFP battery will also boast an increased lifespan of up to 3,000 cycles, or around 900,000-kilometres.
“The growing EV market is generating enormous demand for longer-lasting, more sustainable batteries,” said Markus Volmer, chief technology officer at Sono Motors.
“This enhanced battery enables Sion drivers to extend the time between charges, whilst reducing the charging time itself. This effectively optimises the Sion to deliver easy and affordable sustainable mobility for everyone.”
Finally, Sono Motors has continued its commitment to climate protection throughout its supply chain, announcing that it will offset all unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions generated in the production of the LFP batteries by supporting certified climate protection projects.