Solar car maker Sono Motors files for insolvency
With a body covered all over with solar cells, the Munich-based startup Sono Motors wanted to increase the range of its Sion electric car. But the vehicle never made it into series production. Now the company has filed for insolvency.
Sono had shut down its solar car project in February and laid off 250 employees because it couldn’t find investors or enough potential buyers for the car. In a fundamental change of its business model, the company then planed wanted to market its patents instead. Its coating know-how and experience would henceforth be offered to manufacturers of other automotive suppliers. The founders also wanted to try to offer the entire project to other OEMs and fleet operators.
Customers who had already made down payments to order the Sion are now likely to go away empty-handed. A financier had initially held out the prospect of the money to repay these deposits, but because of uncertainty in the capital market, “this financing did not materialize,” the company said. Talks with other financial partners also came to nothing. According to earlier information, Sono had a good 44,000 pre-orders for its electric car with solar cells on the roof by the beginning of this year. In 2024, this was to come onto the market at a unit price of about €30,000.
Sono Motors filed for insolvency under protective shield proceedings due to over-indebtedness and impending insolvency. The aim of the protective shield proceedings is to successfully restructure the company in an orderly process. Protective shield proceedings are one of the instruments of German reorganization law that enable a company to be reorganized. However, an application for protective shield proceedings may only be filed in the event of imminent insolvency or overindebtedness.
As part of the protective shield proceedings, the focus on retrofitting and integrating solar technology into third-party vehicles is to be implemented. In this business area, the company claims that it already has letters of intent and customer orders/contracts with a total of 25 partners.
In addition to the early funding partners – Sono Motors had collected an undisclosed sum in a crowdfunding process – and customers, shareholders will now also be among the losers.
With the protective shield proceedings, Sono Group, the parent company listed on the U.S. technology exchange Nasdaq, loses access to its only operating subsidiary. Sono Group therefore filed for insolvency proceedings in self-administration. On the day of its IPO in November 2021, the company was valued at $2.6 billion; now the share value is in penny stock region.
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