The world’s first affordable Solar Electric Vehicle – The Sion

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The Sion production ready design
The Sion [Image: Sono Motors GmbH]

About Sono Motors and it’s mission

The Sono Motors (subsidiary to “Sono Group”) is pioneering solar-powered mobility. The company was started 10 years ago in a small garage in the north of Munich with just two people having one vision ‘a world without fossil fuels’. The company was started 10 years ago in a small garage in the north of munich with just two people having one vision ‘a world without fossil fuels’.

The one fact about the sun : Every hour the earth gets heated by the sun by just as much energy as the whole planet or the whole population on the planet earth consumes in a year. To utilize that massive energy the usages of solar planes were necessary which is not so good looking in shapes. It was a challenge and also a mission to put solar on every vehicle.

The company even did a crowdfunding campaign in 2019 and that became the world’s biggest crowdfunding campaign with a total 50 million dollars in payment received.

When the online booking for the Sion opened that again became a milestone in itself.  Over 19 000 reservations as of July 202 received.

The Sono Motors did over 18 000 test drives on their very early prototypes and the company also took thousands of feedback through the community surveys which went into the final design of the Sion.

AHead Quarter Address:
Sono Motors GmbH
Waldmeisterstraße 76
DE-80935 Munich

What’s special with ‘The Sion’

The Sion development journey
Sion development journey and production plan [Image: Sono Motors GmbH]

Statement from the press release note of SONO MOTORS:

Starting as an idea between friends in a Munich garage, Sono Motors has grown to become a pioneer in solar-powered transportation via its development of the Sion, an affordable and reliable SEV for the masses. The Sion’s unique market position, coupled with Sono Motors’ proprietary Sono Solar Technology positions the Company perfectly to seize upon a growing shift toward a more sustainable future and enables individual contribution to climate-friendly mobility through the Company’s blend of disruptive technology and affordability.

In its final production design, the Sion received major enhancements compared to earlier concepts: the exterior and interior now feature fewer lines and clearer surfaces. The Sion’s revamped exterior design includes new headlights and rear lights, a new bottom sideline design, new door handles, a streamlined rear with new camera and 3D lines, and a new charging lid. Inside, the Sion features a more spacious, cleaner interior with more storage, newly designed front seats and rear bench, and a new steering wheel. The Sion will also offer new color and trim for interior surfaces.

SEV The Sion – a revolutionized EV

The Sion production ready design
The Sion final production design [Image: Sono Motors GmbH]

Technical Specification

            Front-wheel drive
            Three-phase synchronous motor
            Transmission = Single speed
            Operating voltage = 278-400 volts
            Power = max. 120 kW
            Torque = max. 270 Nm
            Recuperation = max. 50 kW
            Battery = 54 kWh

The Sion solar powered vehicle
Solar powered car

Driving Performance:
            Maximum speed = 140 km/h
            0 – 100 km/h = 9 seconds
            Electric consumption = 16 kWh/100km
            Range (WLTP) = 305 km
            Turning radius : 05 meter

            Unladen weight = 1730 kg
            Maximum authorized mass = 2180 kg

            Charge = Up to 75 kW (CCS) and up to 11 kW (Type 2/SchuKo)
            Discharge = Up to 11 kW (Type 2) and up to 3.7 kW (SchuKo)

The Sion dimension

Sion overall vehicle dimensions
The Sion dimensions [Image: Sono Motors GmbH]
Total length4470
Total width1830
With exterior mirrors2080
Wheel base2830
Wheel track1580
Ground clearance165
Trunk sill height unladen780
Maximum trunk opening width1100
Trunk opening height700
Maximum loading length1600
Loading length behind rear seats800
Trunk volume (in liters)650
With rear seats folded trunk volume (in liters)1250
Above all the dimensions are in ‘mm’ (unless any specified)

Interior of Sion

Sion interior
Sion interior [Image: Sono Motors GmbH]

The Sion’s comfortable interior and generous trunk offer plenty of room for you and your needs. At the same time, you can focus on the essentials – the clearly structured, understated interior design of the Sion impresses with its intuitive usability. The infotainment system with integrated connectivity and mobility services can be controlled centrally via the 10-inch touch display. [source: Sono Motors]

Interior equipment:

  • ISOFIX child seat attachment
  • Three-point seat belts
  • Power windows
  • Folding rear seat bench
  • Three headrests in the rear seat bench
  • Heated seats for driver and front passenger
  • Single-zone automatic climate control
  • Integrated infotainment system with ambient light
Sion SEV images
The Sion electric solar powered vehicle [Image: Sono Motors GmbH]

Exterior of Sion

The hood, fenders, sides, roof and rear of the vehicle carry solar cells (456 solar cells total in numbers) that seamlessly blend both visually and physically into the car’s body. The Sion thus becomes and SEV, a Solar Electric Vehicle. The Sion battery can also be charged directly from the solar energy.
The system is protected by a robust, scratch-resistant polymer. So, it also answers the question of many who were concern about the surface paint job on the outer body of car.

Sion Solar cells, Battery and bi-directional charging

Sion powering a home
Sion electric car [Image: Sono Motors GmbH]

The monocrystalline silicon cells are used to capture the solar energy and that are capable of generating energy under cloudy skies or in the shade. 456 solar cells are used on the outer body of the car. These cells are capable of charging for 112 Kms of range per week on European average. The Sion battery can be charged with a DC fast charger up to 75 kW. But if needed you can discharge this 11 kW AC to charge any other car or just to supply the electricity to your home. So, basically you replaces the home generator because the car also acts as Power Bank on the wheels.

The Sion has bi-directional charging system and also a plug available to connect any electrical equipment you have- like, Camping gear, e-Bikes, Fan or anything similar.


European Household Plug (SCHUKO) : The time taken to charge upto 80% from zero is up to 12.5 hours.
Standard Charging Station (TYPE-2): This method takes 4 hours to provide zero to 80% charge and 5 hours for 100%.
Fast Charging Station (CCS): The Sion battery can be charged upto 80% in just 35 minutes using CCS and additional 24 minutes to reach 100% charge.

Bidirectional Charging

Series Charing Capacity:
#up to 75 kW DC with CCS
and , up to 11 KW AC with Type 2
and , up to 3.7 kW with SchuKo

Series Discharging Capacity:
#up to 11 kW AC with Type 2
while, up to 3.7 kW with SchuKo

The Sion – drive motor and transmission details

120 kW (163 hp) three phase synchronous motor is paired with a single-speed transmission which gives a top speed of upto 140 km/h. The powertrain maximum operating range is 400 volts. The Sion is having front drive system.

The lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery having capacity of 54 kWh is equipped with liquid cooling system. This is capable to give the drive range of 305 km in according to WLTP standard.


The Sion SEV is priced at €29,900 now. The company states – “Germany’s regular statutory provisions for warranties apply. On top of that, Sono Motors is providing a warranty for the Sion of probably two years or 100,000 kilometers. We are currently in the process of defining the warranty with our battery supplier and will announce this as soon as possible.”

Manufacturing facility for Sion

Valmet Automotive and SONO Motors
Sion electric car [Image: Sono Motors GmbH]

The SONO Motors and VALMET Automotive have joined hand for the series production of the Sion solar electric vehicle. Founded in 1968, Valmet Automotive is one of the world’s largest vehicle contract manufacturers. Operating production facilities in Finland, Poland and Germany, and employing a total of 4,500 people, Valmet Automotive has produced more than 1.7 million vehicles. In addition to manufacturing vehicles, our partners specialize in the production of battery modules and complete battery packs for electric vehicles and kinematic systems. Hence, Valmet Automotive focuses distinctly on electric mobility.

Sono solar kit for retro-fitment

SONO Solar cell technology application
The SONO Motors solar technology fitted on other different commercial and passenger vehicles [Image: The Sono Motors]

The Sono Motors now planned to invest more into the solar technology through scaling the core tech to even more vehicles on road. Target is the typical buses running on the European roads. The solar technology will be used on the roof of buses and other commercial passenger vehicles to minimize the usages of fossil fuel.
By using the solar cells on a bus one can save up to 1500 liters of diesel per bus per year. The beauty is that ‘return of investment’ you start getting from day one and to recover the investment amount it takes 3 to 4 years. There is huge potential for this in Europe and only in Germany 80,000 buses are on road.

The Solar Bus Kit is a versatile and straightforward solution, optimized for the most common 12-meter public transport bus types on the European market, including Mercedes-Benz Citaro and MAN Lion City. Sono Motors will offer a complete and efficient retrofit solution for bus fleet operators who have a compelling need to reduce diesel consumption and CO2 emissions to meet their sustainability goals.

The Solar Bus Kit allows subsystems like the HVAC to be partially powered by renewable energy thereby saving fuel, CO2, and costs. The Kit can save up to 1,500 liters of diesel and up to 4 tonnes of CO2 per bus per year from the ~1.4 kW peak installation with a total size of about 8 square-meters of solar panels. Bus fleet operators stand to see a potential payback time of approximately 3-4 years, depending on days in operation and fuel prices.

Different use cases of solar cell technology

Sono motors patented solar cell technology
SONO Motors patented technology [Image: Sono Motors GmbH]

The mission of SONO Motors is ‘ Solar on every vehicle’ and above image represents how the company is going to accomplish their mission in coming future. We at ‘BijliWaliGaadi’ will keep you updated with company’s production update for the Sion and we wish them all the good wishes for their work towards reducing the carbon foot-print.

Other car manufacturers are also inclining towards the use of recyclable material in car and also focusing on the use of solar energy. One of them are Fisker which is also going to offer the solar roof in their future electric car ‘Fisker Ocean‘. Similar story is with Lightyear.