German EV start-up Sono Motors has raised over €50 million (£42.5m) through crowdfunding, which it will use to produce the Sion, a solar electric vehicle (SEV).
The Sion will be built by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) at its factory in Trollhättan, once home to now-defunct manufaturer Saab, with production set to get underway in late 2020. Sono plans to produce 260,000 Sions over eight years and claims to have secured 13,000 pre-orders.
Sono, which was founded by entrepreneurs Jona Christians and Laurin Hahn in 2016, developed prototypes of the Sion in 2017. However, money troubles forced it to delay developing a production version after discussions broke down with international investors.
A total of €53m (£45m) was raised between December and January – an average of roughly €1m (£851,000) per day. Most of this money (75%) was sourced from people who have pre-ordered a Sion, while other investors (19%) and loans and donations (6%) made up the rest of the sum.
The Sion generates power from a layer of crystalline silicon cell panels on its body, which are claimed to generate enough electricity to power the car for up to 18.6 miles of driving per day. A 35kWh lithium ion battery pack supplies power to a 161bhp electric motor, turning the front wheels via a single-speed transmission. A 0-62mph time of less than 6.0sec and a top speed of 87mph are claimed.
Sono claims the Sion has a 158-mile range on the WLTP test cycle. It can be charged at “any charging station in Europe”, thanks to it being compatible with three different types of chargers: European household plugs (SchuKo), standard charging stations (Type 2) and rapid charging stations (CCS).
Inside, the Sion displays what Sono calls an “understated interior design”, featuring a natural air filter system, as well as a 10in infotainment display. There’s also a layer of moss in the dashboard, which Sono said “provides a pleasant indoor climate by regulating humidity”.