Could this $25,000 electric SUV be what the market wants? The world of SUVs is going electric, but let’s face it, the range and price of many of the SUVs we can buy today limits them. Today, the cheapest electric vehicle you can buy is the Chevy Bolt EUV, priced at around $26,500. But German startup Sono Motors promises that its new Sion SUV will not only reduce that, but also charge via solar panels. So could the new solar-powered (!) Sono Sion SUV really be the $25,000 electric SUV we’ve been waiting for?
What is the $25,000 Sono Sion Electric SUV, and is it really solar powered?
German company Sono Motors is preparing to sell the new Sion electric car that can self-charge via solar panels on the body. The company is now taking orders for the Sion and says it has received more than 42,000 reservations. And, yes, the company says it should start at $25,000 and seat five comfortably. The company plans to start production of the Sion in Finland in the second half of 2023. Its goal is to produce 275,000 Sions in the next seven years.
Yes, the interior is covered in living, growing moss on this $25,000 electric SUV
The company hasn’t released any performance figures so far, but the Sion makes around 200 pound-feet of torque, which is about 66 less than the Bolt. It has about 23 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, which is about the same as a Kia Soul. Inside, it has dual 8-inch and 10-inch screens and moss (yes, seriously) growing on the dash. Lightyear 0 also promises a solar-powered car soon.
Sono covered the Sion in 456 half solar cells. Those cells are not as efficient as charging from the grid. But the company says they increase your 190-mile range by 70 miles a week or up to 150 miles in optional (super sunny) conditions. The SUV has bidirectional charging capability, which means it can feed power back into the grid.
What is Sono Motors?
Sono Motors is a German company that has teamed up with a company in Finland to produce the Sion. It has a proprietary polymer-based technology that it uses for its solar panels, according to CNBC. But the company has plans beyond a modern all-black compact SUV.
“Our solar solutions are intended to enable trucks, buses, trailers and other commercial vehicles to harness the power of the sun to reduce fossil fuel use and costs without compromising range, or anything else. Companies in Europe and the United States are already using or testing our licensed technology in their fleet vehicles and we look forward to helping more US fleet operators,” Sono CEO Laurin Hahn said in a press release.
In October, the company announced that European bus manufacturers Scania and LLT are testing its solar kit for EV buses.
The Sono Zion is on tour
If you’ve been to Los Angeles or San Francisco, you may have seen a Sion prototype hanging around. The car, which is officially called the 3.10, has been affectionately called “Nepetun” after the ride. It has appeared in several well-known places, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the NASDAQ offices in San Francisco.
The tour has taken her to New York, to Los Angeles, where she found a welcome audience with Whoopi Goldberg.