HomeGreen TechnologySono Motors Halts Manufacturing Of Sion Photo voltaic-Powered Automotive

Sono Motors Halts Manufacturing Of Sion Photo voltaic-Powered Automotive

There was a hubbub across the water cooler right here at CleanTechnica world headquarters 5 years in the past when Sono Motors — a German crowdfunded startup that promised to carry a photo voltaic powered electrical automotive known as the Sion to market — introduced its first prototype could be unveiled on July 27, 2017. It was an inexpensive electrical automotive with photo voltaic panels embedded within the hood, roof, and hatchback however that wasn’t the one innovation the Sion promised.

In contrast to the ultra-pricey HEPA filter within the Tesla Mannequin X, the Sion’s air filtration system relied on moss to take away undesirable pollution and odors from the air. The seats all folded collectively or individually to permit individuals to lug all kinds of stuff round or there was room for six passengers when wanted. Two variations have been deliberate. The City could be geared up with a 14.4 kWh battery, have a variety of about 75 miles and price $13,200. The Extender model could be geared up with a 30 kWh battery, have a variety of 155 miles and price $17,600.

Neither worth included the battery. Clients may both purchase it or lease it the best way Renault Twingo house owners did. It ought to be famous that Renault later dropped the battery leasing concept, however Vinfast is now considering the same gross sales technique.

Sono Motors Historical past

Sono Motors

Sono Motors was based by Laurin Hahn, Navina Pernsteiner, and Jona Christians in Karben, Hesse, in January 2016. The trio stated their mission was to “considerably cut back the misuse of helpful and finite sources — akin to oil, as a result of oil is a vital fossil, non-renewable uncooked materials. However, over 61% of the world’s oil reserves are consumed for transport. This produces 128 million tons of CO2 yearly. Even when the extinction of the sources is delayed by new supply strategies, in the long run, there is no such thing as a future for autos with inner combustion engines. Our future is sustainable mobility.”

Within the 12 months it was based, Sono Motors secured funding for 2 useful prototypes thanks to 2 crowdfunding campaigns — €549,995 from 1,686 backers on the web platform Indiegogo and €1.8 million on Seedrs. The 12 months after the prototype was revealed, the corporate took the Sion on a European tour of 42 cities in 10 international locations to generate some buzz in regards to the automotive and get suggestions from potential clients about what they preferred and didn’t like in regards to the automotive.

The Sion Dream Is No Extra

However, regardless of all the guarantees and help from the general public, the truth of getting a brand new automotive into manufacturing has prompted the Sono Motors Sion dream to crash.

In a weblog publish on February 24, 2023, co-founder Laurin Hahn introduced the termination of this system.

“Sono Motors will pivot to a purely photo voltaic tech firm and we now have terminated the Sion program. We’re extraordinarily saddened that we now have terminated the Sion program so near bringing it to the streets. We’re nonetheless totally dedicated to creating an actual distinction in mobility and making each automobile photo voltaic. Due to this fact we now have made the choice to proceed with our photo voltaic B2B enterprise. This was a really tough choice, as you possibly can think about, and we don’t take it calmly.

“Regardless of greater than 45,000 reservations and pre-orders for the Sion, we have been compelled to react to the continuing monetary market instability and streamline our enterprise. Given additionally the useful resource intensive nature of the Sion program, together with personnel necessities, we are actually implementing a big value discount program. This contains the redundancy of roughly 300 staff. This isn’t a call we take calmly and we’re extremely grateful for his or her laborious work and dedication to Sono Motors.”

There are a couple of coincidences right here that bear concerning. The Sion was scheduled to be manufactured by Valmet, a Finnish specialty producer that was as soon as a part of the Saab group. It was additionally deeply concerned with Lightyear, the opposite photo voltaic automotive firm that not too long ago went stomach up not too long ago largely because of the turbulence in monetary markets occurring worldwide in the present day. Lightyear says it’s now centered on a cheaper ($40,000) mannequin. As of final week, the corporate says it’s exiting chapter proceedings and searching ahead to the beginning of manufacturing. We’ll see.

What’s Subsequent  For Sono Motors?

As we now have reported beforehand, Sono Motors has been deeply concerned in bringing its automotive photo voltaic panel expertise to bigger autos akin to tractor trailers and buses which are powered in complete or partly by electrical energy. The merciless actuality is that the Sion was simply too small to have the ability to produce a big quantity of electrical energy, particularly if the vehicles have been parked indoors a part of the day. However giant industrial autos are out within the sunshine all day on daily basis and so are higher candidates for solar energy.

“We are going to pivot our enterprise mannequin to solely retrofitting and integrating our photo voltaic expertise onto third get together autos,” the corporate says. “This marks a big subsequent step in Sono Motors’ enterprise growth. Our expertise is already in utility in the present day, with 23 B2B clients throughout Europe, Asia, and the US piloting our built-in photo voltaic expertise on a number of automobile architectures, together with third-party OEM vehicles, buses, refrigerated autos, and recreation autos.”

Sono Motors has launched into a trial program to exhibit how photo voltaic panels on cargo vehicles and trailers might help decrease working prices and cut back carbon emissions from industrial transportation. We don’t assume a lot about it, however plenty of the merchandise shipped by truck are refrigerated and people fridges are powered nearly solely by diesel engines. Even when solar energy gained’t assist a truck transfer down the freeway, it may remove the necessity for these diesel AC models and save about 5000 liters of diesel gas a 12 months per truck or trailer.

“Our income producing photo voltaic enterprise has been going from energy to energy and we’re at present already working as a development-partner and provider with firms throughout ten international locations in Europe, Asia, and the US,” Hahn says in his weblog publish.

“Clients embody Mitsubishi Europe, CHEREAU, and two Volkswagen subsidiaries — Scania and MAN Truck & Bus. Going ahead, we intend to focus particularly on buses and third-party OEM vehicles, and can now scale up our expertise. We are going to begin with the introduction of the following era of our mass-market prepared retrofit answer for cleaner public transportation — the ‘Photo voltaic Bus Equipment’ — deliberate for the second quarter of 2023. And as we’ll now solely deal with photo voltaic expertise, talks with potential traders progress.

“The potential of our expertise has been validated not solely by our industrial partnerships but additionally by the European Union. In January, we secured €1.46 million in funding from the EU Fee’s European Local weather, Infrastructure and Setting Government Company (“CINEA”) to advance the event of the Firm’s proprietary photo voltaic expertise. We had additionally introduced 52 patents granted or filed.

“This transfer means we will proceed our mission of ‘photo voltaic on each automobile’ and supply options that may profit the lives of on a regular basis individuals around the globe, by lowering greenhouse emissions. The time for this mission is now, and our expertise is able to implement it. This isn’t the tip. The long run is photo voltaic. For a world with out fossil fuels.”

We want Hahn and his crew each success. The distinction between the intense promise of recent expertise and the true world the place industrial success hangs by a really skinny thread is stark. Sono Motors has its work minimize out for it. They will want all of the luck they will discover to succeed.


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