Sion Solar Electric Car: The Complete Guide

Sion Solar Electric Car
Price: £24,000
Type of electric vehicle: Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body type: Hatchback
Battery size: 54 kWh
Electric range (WLTP): 189 miles
Tailpipe emissions: 0g (CO2/km)

Overview


Like the Netherlands based Lightyear solar car start-up, Germany based solar electric car start-up, Sono Motors GmbH is also looking to change e-mobility with the use of solar cells on its self-charging solar electric vehicle (SEV), called the Sion

The company was founded in 2016 by Jona Christians and Laurin Hahn with a vision to realise a future free of fossil fuels, with only electric and shared transportation.  Between 2016 and 2017, the Munich based company conducted crowdfunding campaigns and raised EUR 2 million.  It has come a long way since then, and in January 2020, the start-up raised EUR 50 million in 50 days. The company was floated on the US NASQAQ stock exchange on 17th November 2021 (ticker symbol: SEV).

Sono Motors has received over 16,000 reservations for the Sion solar electric vehicle (SEV). Like in the case of other EV startups like Fisker, the Sion will be manufactured via contract manufacturing, with deliveries commencing in first half 2023. Sono is also licensing its solar technology to other automotive manufacturers for application in buses, trucks, camper vans, trains and boats.

The company’s core mission is to ‘Establish large scale smart e-mobility and sharing thereby make a significant contribution to the reduction of global CO2 emissions’.



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The All-Electric Sion Solar Car


The all-electric front-wheel drive Sion solar car is equipped with 248 integrated solar cells (monocrystalline silicon cells).  These cells are placed on the hood, fender, sides, roof and rear of the vehicle. At peak performance, the solar cells can generate up to 1.2 kilowatts.  The solar cells are protected by a robust, scratch-resistant polymer. According to the company, the solar cells can add up 69 miles (112 km) additional zero-emission range per week to the car EV battery.

The solar electric car has a 54 kWh lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) EV battery.  The electric vehicle includes bidirectional charging. The battery-electric vehicle can be charged via a dedicated charging point (up to 75 kW DC and 11 kW AC).  The EV can be rapid charged up to 80% in 35 minutes using CCS (rapid charging station). An 80% charge provides a 149 EV range.

As is in the case of all EVs, the remaining 20% takes longer to charge. In the case of the Sion, it take an additional 24 minutes to charge the remainder 20%. On a full charge, the pure electric solar car has a range of up to 189 miles. Using an 11 kW EV charger, the EV can be fully charged in 5 hours (80% in 4 hours).

The company has focussed the interior on ‘essentials’. These include: ISOFIX child seat attachment, three-point seat belts, power windows, folding rear seat bench, heated seats for driver and front passenger, single-zone automatic climate control and integrated infotainment system with ambient light. The EV is equipped with a 10-inch display. The Sono app allows the user to share energy, share the ride, or share the EV. The company is keen to promote its use as a ‘sharing vehicle’.

Safety features will include, anti-lock braking system, ESP with traction control, electronic power steering, infotainment system with integrated connectivity and mobility services/ goSono systems (powerSharing, rideSharing, carSharing). The EV will come with a standard warranty of 2 years or 62,000 miles. However, the company has yet to finalise the terms of the warranty.

The solar green car has a 120 kW motor (163 HP) and capable of a top speed up to 87 miles per hour. 0-62 mph in under 9 seconds (torque: 270 Nm). The solar electric car will be manufactured in Europe (Sweden) by NEVS (former SAAB plant) using 100% renewable energy.  Total number of Sion SEVs to be manufactured are 257,000 within 7 years.   

PROS CONS
An affordable solar electric vehicle (SEV) suitable for city drivingLimited interior refinement
Solar cells reduce need for plug-in charging. Also equipped with bidirectional chargingLimited real world performance data (prototype stage)
Cheap to drive on solar zero-emission rangeDamage to solar roof could be prohibitively expensive to replace

The All-Electric Sion Solar Electric Car (credit: Sono Motors)


At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:Hatchback
Plug-In Car Grant (PiCG):Not Available
Engine:Electric
Available In UK:No

£ Variants (1 Option)
Sion (from £24,000)

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP)
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 54 kWh
Charging:Up to 75 kW DC charging standard. On-board charger: 11 kW
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Battery Warranty:2 years or 62,000 miles (TBC by manufacturer)

£ Average Cost Of Residential Charging
Battery net capacity : 16.7 kWh£2.40
Battery net capacity : 30.0 kWh£4.32
Battery net capacity : 39.2 kWh£5.64
Battery net capacity : 45.0 kWh£6.48
Battery net capacity : 50.0 kWh£7.20
Battery net capacity : 64.0 kWh£9.22
Battery net capacity : 71.0 kWh£10.22
Battery net capacity : 77.0 kWh£11.09
Battery net capacity : 90.0 kWh£12.96
Battery net capacity : 100.0 kWh£14.40
  • Note 1: The average cost of residential electricity in the UK varies depending on the region, supplier and type of energy used. An average for the UK is 14.40 p/kWh.
  • Note 2: Not all EV manufactures make available the data on net EV battery capacity, and in a number of instances the EV battery capacity advertised, does not state if it is gross or net capacity. In general, usable EV battery capacity is between 85% to 95% of the gross available capacity.

Charging Times (Overview)
Slow charging AC (3 kW – 3.6 kW):6 – 12 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SOC)
Fast charging AC (7 kW – 22 kW):3 – 8 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging AC (43 kW):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging DC (50 kW+):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Ultra rapid charging DC (150 kW+):0-80% : 20 mins to 40 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Tesla Supercharger (120 kW – 250 kW):0-80%: up to 25 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
  • Note 1: SoC: state of charge

Dimensions
Height (mm):1660
Width (mm):1830
Length (mm):4470
Wheelbase (mm):2830
Turning Circle (m):11
Cargo Volume:650 L

Sion
EV Battery Capacity:54 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):189 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (kWh/100km):16
Charging:75 kW DC Charging (on board charger: 11 kW AC)
Top Speed:87 mph
0-62 mph:9 seconds
Drive:Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)
Max Power (HP):163
Torque (NM):279
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:5
Weight (kg):1,730
Colours:Black
NCAP Safety Rating:N/A

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Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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