Sono Motors Unveils World's First Production-ready Solar Car
Equipped with 330 solar cells around the body of the unit, it is capable of supporting a range of 155 miles per charge (30 kilowatt-hour battery pack). From here, it should be clear that the battery does not come with the car – it is sold separately.
Most solar cars available today are not for city roads. They are bulky, slow and lack major safety mechanisms found in conventional cars. Despite the overwhelming challenges associated with solar energy, groups around the globe are still attempting to commercialize solar cars.
The latest attempt comes from Sono Motors, a Germany-based startup that completed a successful crowdfunding campaign to develop the world's first solar car for commercial markets. Interestingly, the business raised over $700,000 during the Indiegogo campaign, resulting in 1,100 pre-orders for the highly anticipated Sion.
"While Sono has managed to attract sufficient funding in this unconventional way, the project hasn't gone entirely smoothly," highlighted Stephen Edelstein from The Drive.
Durable and Sleek
The solar vehicle looks very refined for a prototype. Equipped with 330 solar cells around the body of the unit, it is capable of supporting a range of 155 miles per charge (30 kilowatt-hour battery pack). From here, it should be clear that the battery does not come with the car – it is sold separately. The Sion will debut at a very affordable rate of $18,000. However, the power cell component will cost $4,500 to fully own. Alternatively, people have the option to rent a battery on a monthly basis, potentially providing consistent earnings for the business.
Going back to its solar features, the vehicle can be charged with a standard plug for times when sun exposure is unavailable, like at night or during rainy weather. The solar vehicle boasts enough room for five passengers, with a tow capacity of 1,650 lbs. With a 107 hp motor, it can reach top speeds of 87 mph (not exactly blazing fast, but good enough for city driving).
Under ideal conditions, the solar panels should be able to offer an extra 30 km per day. As a mobile power station, it could also be used to charge other electronic devices and vehicles.
"Thanks to the technology of bidirectional charging the Sion can not only generate but also provide energy. This feature turns the car into a mobile power station. Using a household plug, all common electronic devices with up to 2.7kW can be powered by the Sion. You can plug in your electronic devices and power them with the Sion battery. Over a type-2 plug the Sion can provide even more power with up to 7.6 kW," said the company.
Production and Delivery Timeline
Maintaining the EV's affordable price point requires heavy planning from the company. It is important to consider that the vehicle is still in the process of undergoing trials across Europe. Sono Motors claims if it receives more than 5,000 reservations for the car, the company will go into production mode as early as 2019.
Furthermore, it is important to highlight again that the battery (which happens to be the most expensive and crucial component of EVs) isn't part of the initial price tag. Though this could actually work in the favor of consumers in the long term, since battery technology is getting cheaper at an extremely rapid pace.