Back to the future on the way to Sono Motors

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.

The Sion, as he should go into production
The Sion, as he should go into production. Photo Credit: Sono Motors

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.

Sion presentation 2017
Sion presentation 2017. Photo Credit: Sono Motors

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.

Trolls for Sono Motors
Trolls for Sono Motors

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 ...

22 thoughts on "Back to the future on the way to Sono Motors"

  • The round of financing beginning 2020 will probably decide whether the Sion becomes a reality. An 9-3 convertible EV will definitely not exist, even if it was a dream. But the 9-3X should come as a kind of SUV for China.

  • How does Sono finance production? It will cost many millions, until now they have almost nothing. So far the production car is only CGI, only the converted BMW i3 exist. I have more hope of the Koenigsegg cooperation, or a 9-3 Cabrio EV with a trailer hitch?

  • I think the Sion in any case interesting. The country needs new impulses! When I look at what the adults under electric mobility, then I feel sick. 700 kilograms of batteries for the e-tron Q7? That can not be! In contrast, the SEV concept by Sono is a fresh development.

    I keep my fingers crossed for the people of Munich!


    That's just not true. At least it is reasonably valid only for the power consumption of the operation.

    For the overall ecological balance of any car - be it a gasoline or a gasoline engine - it is very important how much material and resources, such as steel, copper, aluminum, rare earths and non-recyclable components made of synthetic resin and carbon fibers, weigh it up ...

    A Tesla of 2 tons and with 400 KW engine comes with a rather fat backpack to environmental loads, which he has to pay off first. Speaking of wear off, the 2 tons probably also distribute more abrasion of huge tires in the environment, which is worth at least an environmental marginal note.

    Much more interesting, however, would be with how many battery packs the 900.000 KM were driven. You already wrote that Tesla would have swapped the batteries. The then include in the overall balance and the backpack that wants to be removed, but never, if the attitude of the manufacturer and the user is that you can afford with a luxury Stromer pretty much everything ...

    It's exactly this attitude that is so strangely familiar from the burners of the past decades. For many years, any progress in engine management and any savings potential for heavier and more luxurious cars has been used. Instead of reducing fuel consumption between 1970 and 2000 (it was kept roughly constant), it was better to screw up the driving performance and vehicle weight.

    1970 still qualified with 1,2 tons and from 160 Km / h as upper middle class. 2000 was 1,6 tons and at least 210 Km / h.

    Tesla does not represent the salvation of the earth, but is the contemporary continuation of a dance on the volcano.
    With 2 tons and 400 KW. Contemporary Dance, Baby ...

  • Tom, the master of suspense / serial novel! 🙂
    While reading, I was literally sucked with ... and now stand in the parking lot.
    Soo I had the 1. Article not presented! ...
    Please do not take a summer break !!!
    VG from Lüneburg!

  • BUT, OH BUT ...

    The 9K was very polarizing at the time. Even the AEROs like German motor journalists like a turbo lag, which was supposedly so deep that the car was denied any passage and advised against overtaking maneuvers ...

    It became funny when, for example, the ADAC published a comparison test of the MB 300E with an Audi 100 2,8E in one and the same issue of its magazine, praising both for their equivalent sucker driving dynamics over the Klee and 20 pages further back the 9K for its turbo Weakness down ...

    ... even though according to the ADAC data these days, the contemporary German competition of 20 sites was not only in the shadows, but distanced by worlds in a black hole and also needed in city traffic 3-4 liters and in the mix still 1 to 2 liters less fuel ,

    If that should not have been polarizing at the time, then please define what may be polarizing in the 1990ers ...

  • One more question: How much long distance have you driven with a Tesla, that you think the loading is too time consuming? What is the problem with 400 kW performance? Forcing a nobody to exploit it at any time, in an electric car that is just fine, without much extra effort and without extra consumption.

  • Why are the 900.000 km of Hansjörg von Gemmingen-Hornberg implausible? Incidentally, he also has more than half a million kilometers on his roadster 🙂

  • It was the much lower consumption despite higher weight and twice the performance 🙂 Today you get a model 3 with equally high range and far less weight. But there's only that, because buyers of the Roadster and the Model S / X invested in the future ...

  • Is Saab less 08/15 there? A 9-3II / III could also come from BMW or Audi, 9-5 Sedan and 9k are not really exciting or polarizing. At Citroen it looks different, but you have to ask yourself whether “different” is really “better”. I can understand if someone finds an Ami 6 infinitely ugly, even if I like it ...
    For the older Saabs, it's true that they like the design or feel it as NoGo. In between, there is little gray.

  • Many Thanks! What definitely wants to sign up immediately is: You have to think of cars as tools again. Prestige objects have become obsolete if we are serious about saving resources and protecting the environment.

  • This morning I saw a Tesla with “900.000 km” printed on the rear bumper. Almost unbelievable, isn't it ?! But this Tesla drove gently on the A5, maximum 120 km / h.

    Somehow, the development of these electric cars in my opinion goes in a completely wrong direction: For long distances within a reasonable time almost unfit because of the time-consuming loads, astronomically high performance data (why> 400 kW and more ??) and the 08 / 15 design of Tesla, but also the new Sion (although all matter of taste, but the emotional
    Incentive, which emanated at least earlier from a Saab or Citroen, is completely missing here).

    I prefer to stay “old-school” and leave the pleasure of autonomous e-cars to others.


    Nice * keyword from Greatotto. As such I take the Sion (now I almost wrote A2) as well.
    In the recent discussion on SAAB alternatives, a reader presented the advantages of a Tesla. The arguments “for” the car were also 2 tons of dead weight (weight = resource and energy consumption) and the double output of a 9000 Aero.

    Even if the energy consumption of their operation may be surprisingly low compared to these figures, these and the nature of the argument clearly show what kind of brain child the creators and consumers of such a car are. If environmental protection and a green revolution were the supreme premise, there would be something quite different from a Tesla or in your own carport ...

    We used to have cars that carried 4, 5 or even 7 passengers with less than a ton of own weight and some of their luggage. In the small SAAB 95, there was even room for 3 generations with the rear seat in the cargo hold. The national competition (the duo of Volvo) provided folded rear seat almost 2 sqm flat cargo space and measured by its own weight as well as loosely pure three to four times the load, which would be permissible today for a Tesla. This miracle of space economy then remained around 4 decades in the Gothenburg program. The Buckelvolvo had long been set and the last Amazons ran off the line when they had finally created functionally with the 145 and its express version (a high-roof combination) and dared to stop the duet ...

    You have to think of cars as tools again. Prestige objects have had their day when we are really serious about saving resources and protecting the environment. In this sense, I find the Sion very promising and “Back to the future” very fitting.

    I'm curious like a whip-bow, what the King of Teasers (Tom) has experienced on Sono and knows how to report.
    At least I say thanks for so much journalistic commitment and contradict Tom's self-perception ...

    The fact that one is actually an IT specialist does not mean that one could not beat and outdo some journalists on his own playing field. In my opinion, this is exactly the case here on the blog repeatedly and I appreciate him very much ...

  • As it suggests, the Sion will stingy with assistance systems. A reduction to what needs to be and what the legislator demands. Not unsympathetic, but finally you will know it 2020.

  • Tom is on the future trip this week. First the robot taxi, then the Sion. I think I like that.

  • Unfortunately, not in this case. Just another car, no Saab and not really worth mentioning.

  • The "combustion engine", not named in more detail, parked in front of the door, which made such a relaxed journey possible, was (hopefully) a Saab ?? 😉

  • Herrlich: “I prefer to rest whenever possible. The car as a place of retreat .... Instead, I let my thoughts fly. " That's exactly how it works for me: driving a car as a basic activity to deliberately think about all ongoing projects - quasi from a distance / from the outside. And then there are completely new approaches to solutions that cannot be found on site. That doesn't work with the train, not with the motorcycle and certainly not with a self-driving car. My head switches to rest / waiting position too much, so that I just become sluggish and inactive. That is of course a very personal opinion. I'm afraid that the same thing will happen with the cars as with the software - from the real tools that help you precisely in your own activity to packages with which you can do the respective task to the satisfaction of the customer - but with which you can no longer completely sees him as the “master” of the whole process. The little demanding moment is missing at work, so that one can be proud of the result. Unfortunately, these moments are priceless and I miss them more and more - but maybe I'm just too old school: for me, work including driving is part of life and an important, fulfilling and fun part - I don't need to worry about work-life -Balance to make.
    The Sion concept, I find nevertheless interesting and exciting - just because the concept can see at least a rest of self-determination and that I personally perceive this SEV actually as a tool.

  • Although not SAAB`S, but I am pleased that it continues in Trolltown.

  • I like that. Check it out here and Tom keeps coming up with new topics. Very refreshing, and for years!

  • Great written. I am very excited….

  • Exciting, exciting. Let's see what the trolls from 2020 want to build there. Anything that does work in Trollhättan is welcome. And the Sion I find by the way very interesting.


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