Planned to be built in Finland, the Sion electric car uses solar panels to increase its driving range by up to 245km per week.
German start-up Sono Motors has revealed the production-ready version of its Sion electric car, set to become the first mass-produced and affordable solar car on the market.
First announced in 2018, Sono plans to launch the Sion in Europe next year, putting the solar car on sale from €29,900 ($AU43,600) – roughly €20,000 ($AU29,000) less than the popular Tesla Model 3 electric car (in entry-level form).
A total of 456 solar half-cells are built into the Sion’s exterior body panels – covering everything but its front and rear bumpers – to charge the car’s 54kWh battery pack.
With a claimed driving range of 305km on a single charge, Sono says the solar panels can provide as much as 245km of additional range per week.
For days when the sun isn’t shining, the Sion has an onboard 3.7kW Type 2 AC charger, allowing for charging times under five hours from a ‘wallbox’ at home or the office.
The Sion can also be charged at up to 75kW using DC rapid chargers, taking its battery from 10 to 80 per cent charge in a claimed 35 minutes.
Power is delivered to the rear wheels through a 120kW/270Nm electric motor, pushing the Sono Sion on to a claimed top speed of 140km/h.
Inside, the Sion adopts a minimalist dashboard with two individual 10-inch screens for instrumentation and multimedia.
Creature comforts such as climate control and heated front seats are part of the car’s standard equipment list.
With seating for five, there are three ISOFIX points in the second row as well as a 650-litre boot – 10 litres more than a Toyota LandCruiser Prado.
Production is slated to begin in Finland next year, with Sono reporting 19,000 active reservations for its Sion at €2225 ($AU3245) each – resulting in a net sales volume of around €415 million ($AU605m).
The Sono Sion might be beaten to market by the Lightyear One as the first solar car to roll off an assembly line, as its rival plans to put the sleek electric vehicle into production later this year.
However, while the Lightyear One will also be built in Finland, just 946 cars will be produced at an asking price of €150,000 ($AU218,000) each.
Jordan Mulach is Canberra/Ngunnawal born, currently residing in Brisbane/Turrbal. Joining the Drive team in 2022, Jordan has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. Jordan is a self-described iRacing addict and can be found on weekends either behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or swearing at his ZH Fairlane.