New Sono Sion Solar Car prototype unveiled at CES 2021

Sono Motors has taken the wraps off the new Sono Sion solar car prototype at the all-digital CES 2021. Founder Lauren Hahn said during the unveiling that the company plans to start pre-series production next year.

At the moment, what’s different about the new Sono Sion solar car prototype from the previous one is quite unclear. The centre caps of the wheels and the door handles are new, but everything else looks the same. Inside, the steering wheel and the centre tunnel look different, but they’re probably provisional. On the specs front, company officials indicated that the range figures from the battery pack and solar energy are also the same.

In an interview with blog.crowddesk.de in April 2020, Laurin Hahn, CEO & Co-Founder, Sono Motors, had said that the trial production of the Sono Sion solar car will begin in September 2021. Perhaps the development is delayed a little due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Series production was scheduled to commence in 2022 at that time. Speaking to bloomberg.com in July last year, Hahn had said that the Sono Sion will be available in only solar-cell black colour.

In other recent updates, Sono Motors has raised €45 million in Series C financing. Early last year, the German company had completed €53 million in funding. Including the latest financing round, it has raised approximately €100 million across equity and debt financing. The net figure includes paid reservations as well.

Thanks to a body made purely of solar panels, standing out in the crowd of electric cars or electric car startups won’t be a concern. The body of the Sono Sion has 248 solar cells integrated into it, making it the first car to do so as most solar-powered cars or solar-assisted cars have cells on the roof or the hood, case in point, the Lightyear One. In the Sion, the solar cells are placed all around the body so that some of the cells will always be in the direct path of the sunlight during the day. The Sion solar car can run an additional 34 km per day (5800 km a year) with the help of solar cells.

The main source of power for the Sono Sion solar car is a 35 kWh battery pack that offers a range of up to 255 km (WLTP). Its front wheels are driven by a 120 kW/270 Nm electric motor and the car can reach 100 km/h in 9 seconds and a top speed of 140 km/h. The battery can be charged to full capacity in 13 hours with a 3.7 kW household charger and to 80 per cent in 30 minutes with a 50 kW DC fast charger. Other features of the Sion solar car include 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, front heated seats, ambient lighting, cruise control, driver, passenger & side airbags, rear parking assistance and more. Two years/100,000 km warranty comes standard.

Sono Motors plans to manufacture a total of 2,60,000 Sion solar cars over a period of eight years at the Trollhättan plant in Sweden, where Saabs were produced before the brand went bankrupt. Last year, Sion was said to be having over 13,000 reservations for the solar car, which costs 25,500 Euros (INR 22.67 lakh). Initially, the car will be available to customers in the European Union.

Sono Sion SpecificationsFigures
Length4,290 mm
Width1,830 mm
Height1,670 mm
Wheelbase2,770 mm
Ground Clearance165 mm
Track width front1,580 mm
Track width rear1,580 mm
Trunk opening height700 mm
Sion Technical DetailsFigures
Steering Turning circle (m)<11 m
SuspensionMacPherson struts
Maximum speed140 km/h
0–100 km/h< 9 seconds
Electricity consumption≈ 14 kWh/100 km
Range (WLTP)255 km
Unladen weight ready to driveapprox. 1,400 kg
Maximum authorized massapprox. 1,950 kg
Cargoapprox. 465 kg
Charge50 kW (CCS) + up to 11 kW (Type 2)
Discharge11 kW (Type 2) + 3.7 kW (SchuKo)
Drive configurationFront wheel drive
MotorThree-phase synchronous motor
TransmissionSingle-speed
Operating voltage278–400 volts
Power120 kW
Torque270 Nm
Recuperation50 kW
Battery35 kWh
Sion FeaturesIncluded features
ExteriorTire repair kit (12 volt compressor and tire sealant)
• Exterior mirrors same color as body
• LED headlights
• Windshield wipers with intermittent operation
• Full-surface solar integration to generate
additional range through the sun
• All-weather tires/tire size (205/60R16)
• Steel wheels/16 inches/anthracite
Interior• ISOFIX children’s seat connectors
• Three point seat belt
• Electric windows
• Folding rear seat backs, divided (60/40)
• Front seat heating
• Single zone automatic climate control
• Integrated breSono system with ambient lighting
Electronics• Charging plug under hood with separate cover,
charging capacity automatically adjusted
• Charging capacity up to 50 kW DC and
up to 11 kW AC
• Central locking
• Range optimized using brake energy regeneration
• Instrument cluster with econometer, body computer module, external temperature display
• Infotainment system with integrated connectivity,
10 inch display, USB connection and Bluetooth
• USB (2x Type C) and cup holders located in
center console
• Cruise control
• Four speakers in the front of the car
• Mobility services/goSono systems:
powerSharing, rideSharing, carSharing
Safety• Anti-lock braking system
• ESP with traction control
• Electronic power steering
• Driver, passenger and side airbags
• Passenger airbags can be deactivated
• Seat occupant detection
• Rear parking assistance