Don’t tell that to Sono Motors, though. The Munich, Germany-based company, plans to bring a car covered with solar panels to production in Europe late this year, and to reach full production toward the end of 2020.
There’s a caveat, of course: Its initial Sion model can only cover an average of about 21 miles (34 kilometers) on solar power, on an average day in Germany.
With a 35-kwh battery, though, it provides plenty of buffer for cloudy days and a total plug-in range of 158 miles. Most Germans drive only 14 miles a day, the company says, and few have garages or even private parking spaces where they can install a charger, so having a modest solar charging capacity can alleviate the need for daily charging.
Green Car Reports caught up with Founders Jona Christians and Laurin Hahn, both young men barely out of their twenties, at the company’s small office headquarters in Munich last month, to catch up on Sono’s latest plans and progress.
The pair started Sono in 2013, when they looked at what was happening with global warming and decided change was happening too slowly. “The solutions being offered weren’t radical enough,” said Christians.
They recognized the big hurdles for EVs were range, price, and infrastructure, and they set about finding a single solution that could tackle all three.
What the executives are most proud of are Sono’s proprietary new solar cells, which will be integrated into the surface of the body—roof, hood, doors, fenders, and tailgate—rather than stuck on as on the existing prototype. The new cells are visible—barely—in Sion’s virtual body panels.
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