This Solar-Powered Car Is Designed To Be Affordable For Everyone
The Sion by Sono Motors comes in at just under $18,000
Electric cars have started to gain traction in the automotive market as the public desires a sustainable alternative to the traditional fossil fuel vehicles. Rather than develop an electric car to use electricity obtained from a standard grid, Sono Motors decided to take this concept a step further with Sion, a self-charging car that utilizes solar energy with solar panels wrapped around the exterior of the vehicle. The solar panels grant the owner the freedom to take their vehicle anywhere and know that the battery will consistently be charged.
The solar panels installed in the exterior do not protrude from the frame of the car; instead they hug the roof, rear, front and sides of the car and are covered in a layer of polycarbonate. Sono Motors created two models, an Extender and an Urban. On a full battery charge, the Extender can travel about 155 miles straight, while the Urban can go up to roughly 75 miles. Both of the models can drive for nearly 19 miles by simply sitting in the sun, before drawing power from the battery. Once the battery depletes, it takes 40 minutes to get 80% of the battery’s full power back through an electrical outlet, or half a day sitting in the sun.
Sustainable features extend to the inside of the vehicle, which contains an air filtering unit that uses a moss liner under the dashboard, called the breSono system. The moss, a special lichen, doesn’t require additional maintenance from the owner as the plants acquire the water they need to survive by absorbing it through the air. The plant also acts as a sound dampener to avoid hearing the engine and protects against potential fires.
The developers behind the Sion decided to bring the idea forward with an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in 2016. While the vehicle cost €16,000, backers of the campaign did not have to offer all of this upfront. The developers broke it down into reasonably priced chunks, from €50 all the way to €14,080. Those who pledged more than €50 had the opportunity to get put at the front of the line to preorder the vehicle when they released it as well as the chance to test drive the car before anyone else. The Indiegogo campaign raised €180,000 for the Sion.
Sono Motors continues to accept preorders on their website. The company offers preorders at four price tiers: €500, €2,000,€8,000, and €14,720, which is the full price of the car. Those who plan to buy the Sion on one of the installment plans will eventually need to pay what they owe, but at a discount. If any parts of the vehicle require maintenance, owners can go through Sono Motors. Backers should receive their Sions sometime in 2019, but an exact date remains unknown.