Even with the tremendous increase in mid-price and premium EV segments, creating a low-cost EV for Western markets still seems more complicated than rising from the bottom. Battery costs are high, charging stations are scarce and unreliable, and profit margins are minimal. Nevertheless, some manufacturers are blindly accepting the call.
The German automaker Sono Motors, perhaps most significantly, appears to have some intriguing answers to most of the problems mentioned above, all of which are contained in an entry-level electric hatchback.
The Sion solar electric car’s price will remain at $26,000 before taxes, according to Sono Motors, despite rising inflation.
This EV, known as the Sion, has no relation to Scion. However, the Sion, like Toyota’s now-defunct Scion sub-brand, bundles new concepts in a compact, distinctive, upright package. After producing 37 series-validation prototypes and launching a comprehensive testing program, the German manufacturer has revealed the final design for the future Sion solar-electric passenger car.
The Sion’s long journey to manufacturing began in a garage in Munich, with Sono Motors being created in 2016. Later that year, the first renders were posted as part of an Indiegogo crowdfunding effort, with an Urban flavor priced at €12,000 and a longer-range version priced at €16,000.
In 2019, the exterior design pictures and an interior first look were revealed, and construction moved forward as planned. The company then showed a sleek-looking Sion prototype for the online-only CES 2021. Most recently, it started making series-validation prototypes and test mules for testing on tracks and public roads in Europe and the US.
Sono Motors had over 19,000 active private reservations at the beginning of this month, with the expected final net sales point currently at €25,126 (approximately US$25,700). Series manufacturing will resume in the second half of 2023, with the company hoping to increase output to about 257,000 vehicles in seven years.
The startup estimates that the electric automobile will have a range of up to 305 kilometers (190 miles), with the solar cells able to supply the battery with power for an average of 112 kilometers every week.
The production-ready Sion’s interior space has been improved. According to the company, the Sion’s price has increased by almost 17 percent since late 2018.
Furthermore, just after a trial with Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft (MVG), the company is also launching a new Solar Bus Kit that will add photovoltaic panels to the top of “the most common 12-meter [39.3-ft] public transport bus types on the European market, including Mercedes-Benz Citaro and MAN Lion City.”