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.
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.
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.
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 ...