Germany’s Sono Motors has given us a taste of what we can expect the production Sion to look like inside and out, and is now looking to future buyers to help raise €50 million to secure production facilities and more.We first got wind of plans to release a family electric car packing photovoltaic panels all over its body when renders appeared in late 2016, and pre-orders were opened up the following year. The panels on the roof, doors, hood and rear of the Sion won’t be enough to keep the EV away from the charging stations completely – far from it – but should be enough for up 5,800 km (3,604 mi) of extra range per year.
Inside, a natural air filtration system built around a special moss will be integrated into the dashboard, and there’ll be a roomy feel for all five occupants. The last time we checked in with the German mobility startup, production of the Sion was being penciled in for the second half of next year, with the rollout version pegged at €25,500 (just over US$28k). But to get things rolling, Sono Motors is taking its own route towards production funding.
“We realized again and again over the past few months that we have entirely different goals to traditional financial investors,” said co-founder Laurin Hahn. “Aggressive growth and quick profits are difficult to reconcile with a sustainable corporate and vehicle concept which is designed to give access to affordable and eco-friendly electromobility throughout. In addition, providing start-ups that have a capital-intensive business model with venture capital does not work in Germany, neither in the initial stages nor at the growth stage. Had we relied solely on funding measures or the German market environment, Sono Motors would probably not exist in its current form.”
To get enough cash in the coffers to secure facilities for the first production prototypes, the company is hoping its potential customers will help raise €50 million over the next few weeks.
“We were torn between our pledge to the community and the investors’ demands and were increasingly moving away from who we really are, which is something we absolutely had to correct,” added co-founder Jona Christians. “Social responsibility and climate protection would otherwise have fallen by the wayside, and so would all that we stepped up for. We are now focusing on continuing to fund our innovative vehicle concept together with people who want to see the Sion on the road. Together with a community that asks for a company which acts responsibly, critically questions itself and can be judged honestly on the basis of the statements it makes.”
The founders have also opted to transfer their share of any profits to a Community Pool so that “the company’s objectives continue to be realized and that the Sion can be produced sustainably without any changes to the concept.”
More than 10,000 people have so far stumped up pre-order money for the chance to drive a Sion. They can opt to voluntarily increase their reservation pledge, new buyers can pre-order or folks can choose to donate to the cause. The community funding campaign ends on December 30.