Sion: Sono Motors presents first series-produced, solar-integrated electric car
Sono Motors, the German producer of the first series-produced electric car with solar integration, has unveiled the first images of the Sion’s series design.
The release coincided with the news that the German EV industry is receive a €40 billion boost over next three years, according to the President of the country’s auto industry association.
The focus on the Sion was placed on the full-surface incorporation of solar modules into the bodywork – one of the vehicle’s unique features that have influenced its design with solar cells melded seamlessly into the vehicle’s surface, generating up to 34km of additional range a day at peak performance. This is well above the average distance of 17km commuters in Germany travel to their workplace.
The Sion’s dimensions are increasing. It is becoming larger, longer, and wider, its tail is more emphasised, and it generally looks more elongated. The production version of the Solar Electric Vehicle (SEV) and innovative five-door vehicle will boast a larger footwell and additional interior space. An additional side rear window guarantees an optimum all-round view. The rear will be more stepped and, in combination with the innovative LED rear light design, more three-dimensional.
Sono Motors is involving those who have pre-ordered a Sion in the selection of certain vehicle details by means of community votes, and in doing so is exploring entirely new avenues in the field of vehicle development.
With the Sion, Sono Motors will introduce a carbon-offset electric car and the first mass-produced vehicle featuring solar integration to the market. The vehicle concept revolves around connectivity and intelligent application options. The car features integrated sharing services. An app allows people to share the vehicle itself, rides, and – thanks to a bidirectional charging function – also energy. Sono Motors plans to develop more vehicles based on the Sion platform, for example in the areas of urban mobility, logistics and transport or last mile, including for the international market.
The company has so far taken approximately 9,500 partially paid pre-orders for the Sion. For its market launch, the vehicle will be delivered in a version costing 25,500 euros.
Mathieu Baudrit, head of Research and Development, Solar Integration, at Sono Motors commented: “After unveiling our first prototype in summer 2017, we continued to develop our solar integration technology, which we have been working on since 2016. The production vehicle will feature full-surface integrated solar cells that are embedded in hard-wearing, resilient polymer and that contribute to the vehicle’s design aesthetic thanks to optimised colour matching.”
Toyota unveils electric van and Volvo opens fuel cell lab
Toyota is launching its first zero emission battery electric vehicle, the Proace Electric medium-duty panel van, across Europe.
The model, which offers a choice of 50 or 75kWh lithium-ion batteries with range of up to 205 miles, is being rolled out in the UK, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
At present, alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs, including battery electric vehicles) account for only a fraction – around 1.8 per cent – of new light commercial van sales in the UK, but a number of factors are accelerating demand for practical alternatives to vans with conventional internal combustion engines.
Low and zero emission zones are coming into force to reduce local pollution and improve air quality in urban centres, at the same time as rapid growth in ecommerce is generating more day-to-day delivery traffic.
Meanwhile the opening of Volvo's first dedicated fuel cell test lab in Volvo Group, marks a significant milestone in the manufacturer’s ambition to be fossil-free by 2040.
Fuel cells work by combining hydrogen with oxygen, with the resulting chemical reaction producing electricity. The process is completely emission-free, with water vapour being the only by-product.
Toni Hagelberg, Head of Sustainable Power at Volvo CE, says fuel cell technology is a key enabler of sustainable solutions for heavier construction machines, and this investment provides another vital tool in its work to reach targets.
"The lab will also serve Volvo Group globally, as it’s the first to offer this kind of advanced testing," he said.
The Fuel Cell Test Lab is a demonstration of the same dedication to hydrogen fuel cell technology, as the recent launch of cell centric, a joint venture by Volvo Group and Daimler Truck to accelerate the development, production and commercialization of fuel cell solutions within long-haul trucking and beyond. Both form a key part of the Group’s overall ambition to be 100% fossil free by 2040.