German start-up Sono Motors has unveiled its Sion solar car via now-online technology expo CES2021 on Wednesday (Australia time), billing it as a solar car “you can really afford”.
The Sion will be priced from €21,429 (ex-VAT) according to Sono Motors chief operating operator Thomas Hausch who introduced the Sion via a live stream event on Wednesday.
This equates to $33,692 in Australian dollars – cheaper than any all-electric car currently on the Australian market, even the MG ZS EV which was introduced in late 2020 from $40,990 before on-roads.
The Sion is your typical family-friendly people mover – only instead of being covered in paint, it is covered in solar cells.
With a 120kW motor, it should also have plenty of oomph, offering 270Nm torque and a maximum speed of 140km/hr.
Noting widespread concern about access to charging capabilities Sono Motors says that thanks to the 248 polymer solar panels embedded in the car’s exterior.
“The integrated solar technology charges up to 21 miles (33.8km) from solar energy alone,” he says.
For a typical commute profile, Sono Motors says this means the vehicle will need to spend a quarter of the time charging that a typical EV requires.
And although it cannot charge at night, it can still be driven in dark thanks to the 35kWh liquid-cooled battery that can offer up to 255km driving range even when the sun is not shining.
In addition to offering the ability to charge while you drive, Sono Motors is making it possible to share both the vehicle and the power from it.
“You can even make a buck or two when you start sharing and thinking about other people when you share a ride or share power,” said Hausch.
It does this via the accompanying Sono app which allows drivers to grant access to others to drive the vehicle, even if away on vacation.
The app also shows the vehicle location, battery status, charging progress of solar panels, and allows keyless entry.
It can also allow a Sion owner to share power stored in the battery, either to the grid or say, as a power source when camping.
Because of the solar cells, it is only available in black – but this also means paint shop costs are out of the picture.