Since the Sion from the 2. Half year 2020 to be built at the Göta Älv, he has of course aroused my interest. An appointment of Mark and me in Munich is due in June, because we would like to get to know Sono Motors better. While the startup still shows the prototypes on the test drives, the final design of the series is already certain.
At first glance you can see that the design has gained noticeably and is more pleasing than that of the test vehicles. Additional windows suggest a bright and friendly interior. Together with the striking edgy shape, the Sion stands out from the automotive environment. Its design suggests a good all-round view and a high utility value, only with the view to the rear it can be tight. More details will be known only 2020 during a test drive.
The shape follows the function
The 248 solar panels, which make the Sion a Solar Electric Vehicle (SEV), are neatly integrated into the body. The modules are expected to generate up to 35 kilometers of range per day, depending on the season.
In Munich one speaks of a unique selling point, which however is not completely correct. Because in the Netherlands rolls with the Lightyear One a second startup SEV on the stage. Its approach is as committed to sustainability as the Sion, but the value of the partially Swedish electric car should be significantly higher. Since all Sion can be supplied in any color, if it is black, the panels are hardly noticeable to the casual observer. A vote of the Sion community that has decided so. Maybe the decision is correct because it makes the Sion look like a conventional vehicle. Maybe it was wrong. Because the actual innovation, the integrated solar modules, are not obvious at first glance.
Nevertheless, and maybe because of that, the Sion is a vehicle that pleasantly stands out from the mainstream. No big show, no showmanship. The utility value as a car sharing car is in the foreground. The form follows the function, coincidentally a maxim from Saab and the credo of how cars were built in the 80s. Words such as “space economy” are no longer used today, however, because a lot of space for people in as compact an area as possible seems to be out of fashion.
In Munich they work against the trend. The Sion could be a project that represents a new way of thinking. Not vain, but well thought out and with a high utility value. This is also supported by the optional trailer hitch, which is still a rarity in electric cars, and the ability to use a Sion to donate energy to another electric vehicle. It remains to be seen whether Sono Motors will ultimately remain so consistently puristic in the interior. Pictures of the final design have not yet been published.
Battery module from German production
What Sion is doing fits in well with the enormous change the auto industry is going through at the moment. How the company around founder Laurin Hahn, who is only 24 years old, thinks and acts, Mark and I will soon be exploring in Munich. In any case, we are excited.
Behind the Sion are in a development partnership German auto suppliers such as Bosch and Elringklinger. The company from Dettingen / Erms is a traditional part of the automotive industry and world market leader in the field of cylinder head gaskets. The relatively young business field of alternative drives has been taking the change into account since 2011. For the Sion, Elringklinger supplies the liquid-cooled 48 V battery module, which is designed for a total system voltage of up to 800 V. According to Sono Motors, it relies on a technology that requires less of the controversial raw material cobalt than conventional solutions. With the 35 kWh battery, the Sion will travel 250 kilometers according to WLTP. The module is to be produced at a German location.
But the battery module will be twice as expensive as originally planned by the Munich startup. Press reports write from € 9.500, the price of the Sion rose to € 25.000. That hasn't stopped 10.000 pre-orderers from reserving a Sion and making a deposit.