A Tuesday morning in July. The traffic on the A9 in the direction of Munich is getting tough. I'm on my way to Sono Motors. The electric car Startup has moved into its new headquarters in the north of the state capital, and I'm pretty curious what to expect. The appointment has been planned for months, has been postponed, but today it should work.
What to do on a more than 300 kilometer drive? The behavior is different. Some listen to music on their high-end equipment, others pull in an audiobook, and some work in the car and talk on a hectic plane. I prefer, if possible, the calm. The car as a retreat. No music, and the Navi remains muted. Instead, I let the thoughts fly.
Suitable for the mission Sono Motors?
Sono Motors, electric car, sustainable mobility. Am I the right man for the mission at all? So far, I have spent my professional life in the IT industry and this is unlikely to change in the future. Over the years, I've seen the computers go mobile. From the gray boxes in the IBM style to portables, laptops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones. I was watching batteries start to burn, leak, explode. One may therefore assume that I have a very careful relationship with everything to do with battery.
No good conditions, if you want to write about electric cars?
Or maybe yes?
I know motor-journalists, that's why they avoid the topic like the plague. They hope that the last burn will only come off the line when they move into their Spanish retirement home. However, I am not a journalist and I am looking forward to the future. Which will not be so surprising, because the car industry is now undergoing a process that has experienced the IT industry years ago.
Away from a hardware-focused industry to software. In a few years, studies speak of 2025, 40% of the industry's value creation should come from the software. Anyone who thinks it would be enough to install an electric motor instead of a burner thinks too briefly. The change of the type of drive is the one, much lower challenge. Just to illustrate the extent of the upheaval: Tesla, the company that has gone through this transformation process the furthest in the world, first generates 8% of it value added with software. Among the established providers, the share is only one percent. 1%! The success, and also the survival of many corporations, depends in future on programmers. For hardware-fix automanagers certainly not a simple thing. For me, however, a way back into the future and in something I have ever lived through.
Why Sono Motors?
As of April, Sono Motor's production of the Sion from the fall of 2020 in April Trollhättan announced, I found the revival of the old Saab factory good. If BMW had announced the production of the i3 or Audi the production of an E-tron at Göta Älv, I would have been thrilled. An article, some applause, and the topic would have been a good outcome of a long wait in the filing. But it certainly would not have been more.
Who follows me and the blog for some time, knows my pronounced weakness for the small companies. I like lateral thinkers, new ideas and new beginnings. People who question something and redefine it. Therefore, it was almost mandatory that I had to take a closer look at the Sion. A company that is committed to sustainability, a very young team, and a car that is anything but ordinary as a SEV.
What is behind it, how good is the concept and how credible is the startup really? At least it is not entirely uncontroversial. The production of the Sion was postponed by a year, which led to criticism in the community. In advance, Mark, Jan and I have prepared a questionnaire. Extensive, written from the Saab perspective, and I strongly doubt that there will be answers to all questions. To lighten up the appointment, I packed two Troll stickers.
I'll glue them to the Sion in an unobserved moment. At least during the planning phase I think so, but then everything will be different ...
Meanwhile, I have reached the north of Munich and met with Mark. My gas burner parked in front of the Sono headquarters, and I'm looking forward to the company, the staff and the first impressions. The readers can follow our appointment. Next week we'll take her home to the Sion, and I'll tell you what we've experienced in Munich.
That will, so much I can tell now, revealing! And unlike many expect ...