Solar power may not be able to charge up an EV quickly enough or entirely but it could serve as a supplement to the electricity required. Hyundai already knew this when it revealed the plan to have a solar charging roof and hood in future cars. That was in 2018.
This was quickly materialized in 2019 with the Sonata Hybrid. While solar power is mostly relegated as supplemental power on Hyundai, Aptera, or Lightyear cars, it is not in the case of this black minivan.
This minivan, called Sion, is from German startup automaker, Sono Motors, and it has solar cells on the doors, hood, roof, and basically, almost the entire car’s surface. All told it has no less than 456 seamlessly integrated solar half-cells which will enable self-sufficiency on short trips.
“The energy generated by the solar cells is expected to extend the estimated 305 km range of the Sion’s 54 kWh LFP battery by an average of 112 km (up to 245 km) per week.”
Sono Motors said the car can practically charge itself when parked out in the open. Thanks to the solar cell-covered surface, the owner of the Sion can plug in the car four times less often, saving both time and money. It will be perfect for people who rent homes since plugging at home is mostly not possible. This also means less time spent at public charging stations.
Apparently, Sion could run for days, or maybe even weeks without recharging. If that’s true, I wouldn’t mind a black minivan! Some people may question the claim but we have to remind ourselves that solar technology is more efficient today compared to the last decade. Then again, I guess it will depend on the region you are in.
That’s not all, the car also supports bidirectional charging, thus allowing it to serve as backup power for your house and charge and/or power electrical appliances.
Sono Motors recently debuted the production design of the Sion, the “world’s first solar electric vehicle (SEV) for the masses”. Production is expected to start in the second half of 2023.
The company is taking reservations for the car. The Sion is priced at just €25,126 (about US$25,705), which is an affordable price tag that is in line with the company’s vision of “a world without fossil fuels” because if you want that to happen, EV has to have a low total cost of ownership.
Images: Sono Motors.
via Fast Company.