Range: it’s likely the biggest drawback from owning an electric car. While gas stations are ubiquitous their electric car charging counterparts are few and far between, severely limiting the distance drivers can travel on a full battery.
This may be all about to change thanks to a German startup. Sono Motors has developed their flagship vehicle the Sion, a fully-electric car which has solar cells built into its chassis. This allows the car to drive and simultaneously charge in a world-first for electric vehicles.
The Munich-based startup launched in 2016 and is well on its way to producing its first fleet for European roads. Production is set for the second half of 2019 with an order of more than 6500 cars. The Sion is designed with 330 solar cells attached to the vehicle’s roof, bonnet and sides with the battery system to offer a range of around 250 kilometres (155 miles) before needing to be recharged. Furthermore, the exterior will be mainly made up of rust-proof polycarbonate which is also scratch-resistant.The car is expected to retail from 16,000 euros.
Sono Motors co-founder and chief executive officer Laurin Hahn told Reuters that the car will be heavy on tech but light on frills.
“We have a seat heater, there is air conditioning, there is a large infotainment system where I can also connect my phone interactively, which means I really have a full vehicle which is very simple,” he said.
The company enjoyed a hot summer in Bavaria to test its final development phase over recent months. The development and creation of the Sion relates to Germany’s overall goal to put more than 1 million electric cars on the road by 2020. At current projections the country will not hit this figure, but in April the government stated that it was ready to provide support to enterprises which create batteries for electric cars.