Electric vehicle taps the sun to charge its batteries

Electric vehicle taps the sun to charge its batteries

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The surface of the vehicle is covered with a total of 330 solar cells that are integrated into the roof, doors, the trunk lid and the front bonnet. Of course the energy these solar cells provide does not suffice to drive the four-seater completely, but as long as the car sees the sun they contribute to charging the batteries – according to the company they generate enough electricity to add some extra 30 kilometers per day.

The battery stores enough electricity for a 250 kilometer ride – not bad, given the competitive environment such as BMW’s i3 (maximum 160 km, and all that at a price tag of 30.000+ euros). The Sion, in contrast will cost 16.000 euros – and buyers have the choice to either buy the battery (for some 4000 euros) or rent it. Another unique feature of the electric system is that it can be used as power source, providing up to 2.7 kilowatts (DC) through the standard plug or up to 7.6 kW through an optional Type 2 connector. The bidirectionality of the electric system also enables the car to pump electricity back to the grid if required – a prerequisite to establish smart grids.

Through its connectivity features and a smartphone app (available for Android and iOS), the Sion can also be used for alternative usage models. The app and the underlying cloud infrastructure support power sharing, rise sharing and car sharing.

Sono Motors has been launched in 2016. Through crowdfunding, the two founders raised 700.000 euros, enabling them to design an electric car. In the meantime, the company succeeded in contracting automotive supplier Roding Autoteile GmbH as prototype development partner.

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