German start-up crowdfunding solar electric car

Electric cars are grabbing the headlines like never before. But until now, none has presented itself as an affordable family-friendly solar electric car that can also charge itself using power from the sun.

Sono Motors, a start-up company based in Munich, Germany, is seeking crowdfunding to start building Sion, “a cost-effective electric car suitable for everyday use.”

The electric car has solar cells all over its roof and side panels and can travel up to 155 miles (250 km) on a single charge from an electrical power point.

solar electric car Sion The Sion solar electric car has solar cells on its roof and sides that boost its range by nearly 20 “free” miles by self-charging from the sun. Photo credit: Sono Motors GmbH

However, what makes the Sion a solar electric car is that it can travel an extra 18.5 miles (30 km) per day for free – using power from the sun.

Two models planned

Sono plan to make two models of the Sion:

– the Extender: with a target price of € 16,000 (about £13,900 or $18,000), this 30kWh version will have a range of 155 miles (250 km)
– the Urban: with a price tag of € 12,000 (about £10,400 or $13,500), this 14.4kWh version will have a range of 75 miles (120 km)

The energy stored in the Sion’s batteries can also be used to power common electronic devices using a technology called bidirectional charging.

In both models, the time to charge the batteries to 80 percent capacity is around 30 minutes.

The car has six seats, three in the front, three in the back, and a large trunk. The seats fold down individually, for extra storage.

There will also be a ten-inch display in the center of the console that uses wifi or Bluetooth to link up with smartphones or tablets.

Air filter system uses living moss

An innovative and unique feature of the car is the use of living moss in the air filter system. This is integrated into the dashboard and requires no care, as the plant gets its water from the air.

The special type of lichen acts as a natural air filter – its tiny living structures bind to dust and pollutants in the air, so even in the middle of a city, you can breathe fresh air.

solar electric car Sion interiorThe car has six seats, three front, three back. It features a console for linking up to smartphones, and also has a unique air filter system based on living moss. Photo credit: Sono Motors GmbH

Sono are looking to crowdfund the production of Sion in two stages. In the first stage, they are looking to make prototypes for safety tests and trial runs.

The second phase will be for production of models for sale, which will be made in collaboration with automotive manufacturers and suppliers.

Should all go to schedule, Sono plan to start delivering the Sion in 2018.

They are aiming to deliver the solar electric car to: the European Union, Switzerland, Great Britain, India, the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Video – the Sion electric solar car

In the following video, the founders of Sono Motors describe the story of their company, the concept of Sion, and their passion about making an environmentally-friendly car for everyday use.