Sono Motors kills its solar powered car

Almost perfect.
Photo: And Fox/Jalopnik

Many cars die when their time finally comes. The Audi TT will take its last bow later this year, the Toyota CH-R will not see the new year and now electric vehicle startup Sono Motors has announced that its solar-powered city car has bit the dust before it could taste the freedom of the open road.

The idea for Sono Motors’ solar-powered car may have originated in 2016, but it… it wasn’t until 2019 that prototypes for the EV arrived on the street for the first time. There were also promising signs ahead of the 2022 launch, as the startup shipped one of its Sion passenger cars to New York for Jalopnik to drive.

Things looked good at the time, and so did ours Erik Shilling even described the EV as “almost perfect”.

But the company has struggled for money in recent months. Reuters reports that last year the start-up launched a campaign to raise 100 million euros ($105.76 million) by offering discounts on vehicle pre-orders. The company also began trading on the NASDAQ in November in an effort to attract early-stage investors.

A photo of the Sion electric car with the New York skyline behind it.

Bright sun, big city.
Photo: And Fox/Jalopnik

At the time, it warned that if its funding efforts were unsuccessful, it would shift its focus building a solar-powered passenger car. Instead, it would put all its efforts into building solar-powered attachments for commercial vehicles. Now he makes that move and his Zion city car will kill.

“This pivot marks an important step in Sono Motors’ business development,” Laurin Hahn, co-founder and CEO of Sono Motors, said in a statement shared with Jalopnik.

“While we had to end our original passion project, the Sion program, shifting our full focus to business-to-business solar solutions gives us the opportunity to continue creating innovative products in the field of solar energy. energy. It was a difficult decision and despite more than 45,000 reservations and pre-orders for the Sion, we were forced to respond to the continued instability in the financial market and streamline our business.”

But what are those business-to-business solar solutions?

A view of a group of trucks covered in solar panels.

You get a solar panel, you get a solar panel, you get a solar panel.
Photo: They are engines

Well last year Sono has launched a kit that can bring solar energy to buses and trucks. The kit added up to eight square meters of solar panels to the roofs of standard city buses or trucks. This, the firms said, would increase the efficiency of commercial vehicles currently on the roads in towns and cities around the world.

Now Sono Motors says it will work on developing its next-generation solar kit. To do this, Sono will scale up its technology in preparation for a new mass-market kit planned for Q2 2023.

As part of the restructuring, Sion Motors confirmed it is also “planning the layoff of approximately 300 employees”.

While Sono Motors is undergoing all of these changes, the company has confirmed that it is a payment plan is available for everyone who has reserved one of their Sion city cars. Early backers will receive 30 percent of their down payment at the end of May 2023, 40 percent will be repaid in June 2024 and the last 30 percent will follow in January 2025.


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