For Sono Motors, the new year begins with uncertainties. It is uncertain whether the Sion can be built in Trollhättan. With a sensational crowdfunding campaign, the company wanted to raise € 50 million by December 30, 12. As of the reporting date, there was a total of just over 2019 million, which may be considered a great success - but is too little. Nevertheless, the Munich start-up doesn't give up. The community now decides on the future of the project.
The Sion supporters have had 3 days since December 31 to vote. Will the crowdfunding campaign be extended by 20 days to collect the remaining millions? Or has the community project as such failed? A grassroots democratic process that is unusual for the auto industry.
Sono Motors mobilized the fan base in December. The basis that only brought the project so far should ensure survival. The founders toured the country with regional events. They answered questions and admitted mistakes. The state of development was documented in videos and an open question was answered. Supporters are to be involved in the future profit of the company via a points system, fans were able to grant loans. Media sets to support the #staysono campaign with videos, images and texts were distributed. In short, all the stops were pulled in Munich to make the campaign a success.
Victor Muller would have enjoyed it.
The struggle for Sono Motors was reminiscent of the battle for Saab 2010 and 2011. Just more digital and almost a decade later.
How we didn't become fans
A flashback. In summer 2019, Mark and I visited Munich. We wanted the appointment because we got the project and the History found refreshingly modern behind it. The decision to have the Sion built in Trollhättan was only part of the story. The community idea, the solar concept and the previous history was much more sympathetic and the decisive factor.
In the end, the visit amazed us, it was completely different than expected. Everyone was friendly, but in the end it was buttoned up. Our extensive catalog of questions, which had been insisted on in advance, did not matter. The half-sentences around the appointment that came from employees were interesting. In general, Sono Motors was closed like a Swiss bank vault.
After the appointment we were at a loss. Was that the company that had gotten this far from the community? We were used to more openness from Saab, NEVS and the auto industry in general. Was the story in the background just a good marketing story or was it because of us who come from the combustion camp? Should we get involved with the idea of the solar car, could the progress of the project interest our readers? In summary, we booked the appointment as a first meeting and decided to continue to watch Sono Motors in the media. At a distance as we experienced it in Munich.
In any case, it was missed that day to make us fans.
180 degree U-turn
Then in December the dramatic one U-turn, After months of silence, it was all about it and you got your roots back. That had been ignored and neglected for a long time, as you admitted. And what should never happen again. Sono is back in the community, Sion is a community project. That alone makes it interesting, even if the U-turn may have come too late. Social media is fast moving, news and trends have a very short half-life.
Clever, refreshing ideas were and still are in abundance from Munich. Customers can switch to the Renault Zoe to bypass the Sion. Customer loyalty in an unconventional way, friendly, if born out of necessity.
How will it go on?
The community will probably vote for an extension. The crowdfunding then continues and it is not out of the question that the remaining millions can be collected. Then there is still around € 200 million to go until production in Trollhättan, which must be organized by mid-2021. In order to convince even more people of the concept of the solar car and to raise funds, there will be more test drives, prototypes built and open contact with the community.
An adventure, thought out, unusual. Definitely exciting.