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 slower. 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 really excited about what to expect. The date has been planned for months, has been postponed in the meantime, but it should work today.

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

What do you do on a 300-kilometer drive? The behavior is different. Some listen to music on their high-end system, others read an audio book, and some work in the car and make phone calls in a hectic hustle and bustle. I prefer to rest whenever possible. The car as a place of retreat. No music and the sat nav remains muted. Instead, I let my mind 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-fixated industry towards software. In a few years, studies speak of 2025, 40% of the value added in the industry should come from software. Anyone who thinks it would be sufficient to install an electric motor instead of a combustion engine is thinking too short. Changing the drive type is one, much less of a challenge. Just to illustrate the extent of the upheaval: Tesla, the company that has already gone through this transformation process furthest worldwide, only 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.

Anyone who has been following me and the blog for a long time knows my pronounced weakness for small companies. I like lateral thinkers, new ideas and new beginnings. People who question something and redefine it. So it was almost imperative that I had to take a closer look at the Sion. A company that has sustainability on the flags, a very young team, and a car that as an SEV is anything but ordinary.

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 will stick it to the Sion in a moment that is ignored. I think so at least during the planning phase, but everything will turn out very differently ...

In the meantime I have reached the north of Munich and met with Mark. My combustion engine is parked in front of the Sono headquarters, and I'm looking forward to the company, the employees and the first impressions. The readers can follow our appointment. We'll take her back to the home of Sion next week, and I'll tell you about what we saw in Munich.

I can already reveal that much, that will be revealing! And very different from what many expect ...

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

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

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • Tom, the master of suspense / serial novel! 🙂
    While reading I was literally sucked in ... and now I'm in the parking lot.
    That's not how I had imagined the 1st article! ...
    Please do not take a summer break !!!
    VG from Lüneburg!

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

    Somehow the development of these electric cars is going in the completely wrong direction in my opinion: almost unsuitable for long distances within a reasonable time due to the time-consuming charging processes, astronomically high performance data (why> 400 kW and more?) And the run-of-the-mill design by Tesla, but also the new Sion (it's all a matter of taste, but the emotional one
    Incentive, which emanated at least earlier from a Saab or Citroen, is completely missing here).

    I prefer to stay “old-school” and let others have fun with autonomous e-cars.

    • Whether Saab is less 08/15? 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 it when someone finds an Ami 6 infinitely ugly, even if I like him ...
      For the older Saabs, it's true that they like the design or feel it as NoGo. In between, there is little gray.

      • YES, OH YES ...

        The 9K was very polarizing in its time. Even the AEROs like to blame the German motor journalists for a turbo lag that was supposedly so deep that the car was denied any passage and advised against overtaking ...

        It got 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 suction-powered driving dynamics and the 20K for its 9 pages later Turbo weakness turned down ...

        ... although, according to ADAC measurement data, it not only put the contemporary German competition in the shade from 20 pages before, but also a world apart in a black hole and also required 3-4 liters less fuel in city traffic and 1 to 2 liters less fuel in the mix .

        If that was not supposed to have been polarizing at the time, then please define what can be considered polarizing in the 1990s ...

    • 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 🙂

    • 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.


        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 every car - be it a combustion or gasoline engine - it is very important how much material and resources, how much steel, copper, aluminum, rare earths and non-recyclable components made of synthetic resin and carbon fibers it weighs ...

        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.

        But it would be much more interesting to see how many battery packs the 900.000 KM were driven with. You already wrote that Tesla had changed your batteries too. They then also belong in the overall balance sheet and the backpack that wants to be removed but never will, if the attitude of the manufacturer and the user is that you can do pretty much anything with a luxury Stromer ...

        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 ...


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

    Even if the energy consumption of its operation may be surprisingly low compared to these key figures, this and the type of argumentation show quite clearly what kind of brains the makers and consumers of such a car are. If environmental protection and a green revolution were the top priority, the result would be something completely different from a Tesla or in your own carport ...

    We have already had cars with less than a tonne weight that transported 4, 5 or even 7 people, some with luggage. In the small SAAB 95, there was even space for 3 generations with the back seat in the cargo area. The national competition (the duo from Volvo) offered almost 2 square meters of level loading space with the rear bench seat folded down and, measured by its own weight, it could easily accommodate three to four times the payload that would be permissible with a Tesla today. This miracle of space economy remained in the Gothenburg program for around 4 decades. The humpback volvo had long been discontinued and the last Amazons rolled off the production line when the 145 and its express version (a high-roof station wagon) were finally replaced by a functional replacement and dared to discontinue the duet ...

    You have to think of cars as tools again. Prestige objects have had their day if 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 appropriate.

    I'm curious like a whip-bow, what the King of Teasers (Tom) has experienced on Sono and knows how to report.
    In any case, I would like to say thank you for so much journalistic commitment and also contradict Tom's self-perception ...

    The fact that you are actually an IT specialist does not mean that you cannot beat and outdo some journalists on their own playing field. In my perception, this is exactly the case here on the blog and I appreciate him very much for that ...

    • 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.

    • It was mentioned that consumption is much lower despite the higher weight and twice the power 🙂 Today you get a Model 3 with just as long range and far less weight. But it only exists because buyers of the Roadster and the Model S / X have invested in the future ...

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

  • The “combustion engine” parked in front of the door and not specifically named, which made such a relaxed journey possible, was surely (hopefully) a Saab ?? 😉

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

  • Herrlich: “I prefer calmness 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 in order to think about all ongoing projects in a non-targeted manner - from a distance / from the outside, so to speak. And then there are completely new approaches to solutions that you cannot come up with 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 with 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.
    I still find the Sion concept interesting and exciting - precisely because the concept shows at least a little bit of self-determination and that I personally actually perceive this SEV as a tool.

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • Well 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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