Having an electric car powered by the sun is now a reality with the unveiling of the Sono Sion.
Called the ‘world’s first affordable solar electric vehicle’ by German brand Sono Motors, the Sion has been seen before in prototype form, but this is the first time it’s been revealed in production guise.
The road-ready model gets a number of changes, including a cleaner exterior design incorporating new headlights, a streamlined rear and newly designed seats.
The exterior of the Sion consists of 456 solar half-cells, which are said to allow ‘self-sufficiency’ on shorter journeys. Sono says the model’s 54kWh battery will allow for a range of up to 190 miles, and that the solar cells can extend the range by an average of 70 miles per week, although this could be as much as 152 miles in perfect conditions.
Sono claims that commuters in metropolitan areas will be able to charge their Sion up to four times less often than conventional electric cars of a similar size. As well as using solar energy, it can also be charged up externally like any regular electric car at speeds of up to 75kW.
The firm is continuing to test the Sion across Europe and the US, with production planned to start in the second half of 2023. It will be manufactured at third-party Finland-based company Valmet Automotive’s plant.
In addition, Sono has presented its vision of making existing vehicles on the road cleaner.
Developed for buses initially, the kit is a retrofit solution for existing petrol and diesel vehicles that allows elements of the electrical systems such as the air conditioning to be powered by solar energy. Around eight square metres of solar panels are applied to the vehicle, with the firm saying that people will get their money back from investing in the product after three to four years.
Jona Christians, co-founder and CEO of Sono Motors, said: “We’re proud to celebrate the unveiling of our novel solar product, the ‘Solar Bus Kit’, which will truly push our mission of making every vehicle a solar vehicle to the next level.
“This kit allows us to strengthen our solar business by maximising the scalability of our technology to a huge market: the public and private bus fleet sector. It also represents a milestone on our path towards a world without fossil fuels.”