Solar mobility OEM Sono Motors is making great progress in the testing and series-validation program of its solar electric vehicle Sion, and is technologically on a fast track to pre-series production, which is planned in summer 2023. Over 8,000 people have already participated in the ongoing #savesion campaign, by either placing a new reservation for a Sion or increasing their deposit.
As of 16 January 2023, the more than 44,000 Sion reservations include ~21,000 private reservations with deposit, ~22,000 non-binding B2B pre-orders and more than 1,000 new private reservations with deposit commitment made in the course of the #savesion campaign. The Company therefore has already received payment commitments from its Community worth over €40m, to decrease the funding gap until pre-series production. This support is making it conceivable that Sono Motors achieves its target of about €100m gross in new or increased reservation deposits, investments, or other sources of funding within the next few weeks.
“Several thousand supporters have already made this campaign one of the largest in Europe and are sending a clear signal that they want the Sion, an affordable alternative to bulky and expensive e-SUVs. Also, that a climate-friendly mobility revolution in Europe is both needed and wanted. At the same time, we believe the €40m sum in new reservations sends a strong message to investors and we have received positive feedback since announcing the campaign. We are in ongoing talks with potential investors and feel confident that we will reach the target and proceed with the Sion program. We need a final push, more thought leaders to stand up and fight for this revolution together,” says Laurin Hahn, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors.
Durability Testing in Spain
Sono Motors’ affordable solar electric vehicle, Sion, recently completed handling and comfort suspension tuning and road load data acquisition, and is now undergoing durability testing in Spain. The Sion is being tested at the Applus IDIADA test track to complete the accelerated durability test cycle on the proving ground in various rough road conditions, equivalent to 150,000 km of customer usage. These tests will confirm the complete vehicle’s structural durability as part of the Sion’s extensive and uncompromising test program, currently involving 18 complete vehicles and several bodies-in-white in the U.S., Germany, Sweden, Italy, and Hungary.
Solar Charging Under Real-Life Winter Conditions Confirmed
Beyond the durability testing, Sono Motors recently confirmed the Sion’s solar charging capability during a real-life test in December, the month with the least amount of daylight in Europe. The car reached a calculated 28 km of pure solar range per week. Therefore, the Sion was already able to achieve 80% of the expected winter solar yield about a year ahead of planned production. This test, undertaken using a series-validation vehicle, confirms the potential for an average of 5,800 km annual solar range in Europe, thanks to the unique integration of the solar modules into the entire body.
3-Phase Bidirectional Charging Successfully Tested
Sono Motors successfully tested the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) charging technology using 3 phase at 13 amps with limited amperage during various test cycles. This resulted in a bidirectional charging output of 8 kW AC between a Sion and an unmodified series EV. By the start of production, the Sion is expected to be able to charge other devices with up to 11 kW AC.
Sion’s Efficiency Confirmed in First Series of WLTP Tests
Following so-called ‘coastdown’ testing in Spain, to validate the Sion’s driving resistances and vehicle performance simulation models, the Sion drove a wide variety of drive cycles on test benches in Sweden and Germany, including WLTP tests. The car surpassed the WLTP range target of 305 km on a single battery charge of 54 kWh, overachieving the advertised vehicle range. Based on this performance, Sono Motors expects to confirm a modest range increase before the start of production, due to consequent improvement in the Sion’s efficiency. In addition, the car is expected to achieve about 112 km of emission and cost-free range on average per week through the power of the sun in Europe.
Production Trials With Series Tools Commenced
While the testing and validation program continues, Sono Motors and its partners have already finished building many component production tools for exterior and closures, as well as run initial production trials. These include the crucial injection molding tools for the solar panels and dozens of other series hard tooling. The Company plans to have the first Sion pre-series vehicles built using series tools at its production partner Valmet Automotive in Finland in the second half of 2023.