German automaker Sono Motors is taking pre-orders for an unusual car with big ambition – the Sion, an all-electric car that charges itself through the power of the sun.
Sono Motors, founded in 2016, has a mission to “accelerate the revolution of mobility by making every vehicle solar.” The company works toward that mission along with its goal to establish large-scale, smart e-mobility and sharing to make a significant contribution to the reduction of global CO2 emissions. The Sion is its first step toward that future.
To American eyes, the Sion looks distinctly European, although a bit bulky and awkward. That bulk, however, hides a secret. The hood, fenders, sides, roof and rear of the vehicle carry solar cells that seamlessly blend visually and physically into the car’s body. These solar cells mean that the Sion can charge its battery from the sun alone! At peak performance, these cells can generate up to 1.2 kilowatts and add an additional 112 kilometers, or about 69.5 miles, of additional range per week.
Sono Motors has dubbed the Sion as the world’s first solar electric vehicle, or SEV, for the masses. The exterior boasts 456 of those solar half-cells that allow German commuters in metropolitan areas to charge their Sion up to four times less than conventional EVs of the same class. These monocrystalline silicon cells produce energy under cloudy skies or in the shade.
The Sion also boasts bidirectional charging technology that is designed to turn it into a sustainable “power plant on wheels,” allowing it to power electronic devices, the home or other electric cars.
Sono Motors Sion Solar EV Photos
How far can you go without the added solar power? The Sion’s 54 kWh battery will get you about 305 kilometers, or about 189.5 miles, on a single charge. The Sion can be charged at home with a standard plug-in for about 12.5 hours, at a Type 2 charging station in about 4 hours to 80% or at a rapid charging station in about 35 minutes to 80%.
The three-phase synchronous motor is paired with a single-speed transmission, offering 120 kW and 163 horsepower, with a top speed of 140 km, or 87 mph. The Sion will be offered with front-wheel drive.
The interior is minimalist and boasts one extremely unusual feature –integrated moss. This natural element is meant to ensure a pleasant indoor ambiance. It’s unique, but I don’t see this feature catching on in the States.
Beyond bringing the outdoors in, the Sion has a 10-inch touch screen infotainment display, along with an additional display for the driver that offers information such as solar range and speed.
Buyers will benefit from the Sono app, which can be used for car sharing with no key handover necessary, ride pooling and power-sharing.
The Sion will be made in Europe, and Sono Motors has no plans to take it overseas. The company expects that all production-related greenhouse gas emissions that cannot be avoided will be fully offset through relevant measures.
Should this unique vehicle prove successful, however, I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar technology take off here. Though, probably without the moss.