Solar car maker looks to raise €50m by crowdfunding

Solar car maker looks to raise €50m by crowdfunding

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Even though market observers such as IDTechEx have given Sono Motors’ solar car concept top marks, this is not enough for solid financing – a phenomenon that is by no means unknown in innovation-driven industries such as electronics and IT. Sono Motors wants to produce the Sion self-charging electric car, increasing its range by equipping the vehicle surface with solar cells. In addition to solar integration, the Sion will support a bidirectional charging infrastructure.

Now Sono has launched one of the largest community funding campaigns in Europe. By 30 December 2019, the company aims to achieve its campaign target of €50m through 2,000 reservations alongside the existing 10,000 reservations. The capital is to be invested primarily in production facilities and production prototypes of the Sion solar car.

The campaign follows a strategic reorientation in corporate financing. Beyond the classical financing rounds, the sustainable implementation of the corporate vision, the unrestricted focus on Sono Motors’ goals as well as the production and delivery of the Sion are to be ensured. Follow-up financing will also be supported by the Sono Motors Community and complemented by sustainable investors who share and support the company’s value system and vision.

Due to the high capital requirements of the company, international investors have played a central role in the financing strategy – as in practically every start-up company. However, negotiations with multiple partners have shown that Sono Motors’ corporate strategy is difficult to reconcile with the interests of traditional investors. “A departure from the vision, the migration of technology and patents, and ultimately the end of Sion’s forward-thinking concept would have been the result,” the company says in a press release. The decision against the continuation of the previous strategy and the corresponding termination of these talks will postpone the production of the first vehicles until September 2021.

“Over the past few months, we have seen time and again that our goals are completely at odds with those of traditional financial investors,” says Laurin Hahn, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors. “Aggressive growth and rapid profits can hardly be reconciled with a sustainable corporate and vehicle concept that aims to provide broad access to affordable and climate-friendly electric mobility”.

With the launch of the campaign, the company founders will contribute their profit shares to a community pool and transfer future profits to the existing reservers of a Sion. However, they retain the voting rights in the company. The founding team currently holds 74 percent of the company’s shares.

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