MAN transporter with solar cells
Sono Motors plans to expand its self-developed solar technology into a second business area in addition to car production.
The Munich start-up wants to bring the Sion electric car onto the market by 2023, which generates electricity not only from a battery, but also from solar modules.
They should be attached to the body like a second skin and increase the range of the Sion by around 35 kilometers per day in good weather conditions.
Other manufacturers are now also interested in the technology.
Sono has now signed a letter of intent with the truck manufacturer MAN.
Together they want to investigate whether the Sono Solar technology could be installed on MAN electric vans and used to generate electricity.
Further collaborations of this kind are to follow soon.
"We see great potential for this. In principle, the technology could be used on trains, ships and cars of any size," Sono co-founder Jona Christians told SPIEGEL.
Sono already operates a solar cooperation with the start-up Easy Mile, which develops autonomous shuttles.
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At the beginning of the year, Sono presented the latest prototype of the Sion, which is to be produced by the contract manufacturer NEVS in a previous Saab plant in Sweden. In order to finance the market launch, it has been speculated in the industry for some time that Sono could soon go public in order to secure another 250 million euros. So far, the start-up has raised around 100 million euros, around half of which via crowdfunding.
Since last summer, around half a dozen electric car start-ups have gone public, some of which are traded at valuations like established car companies, although they still generate little or no sales.
Investors are betting that electric drives will prevail and that pure e-car manufacturers will benefit more than average from them.
In the meantime, however, traditional manufacturers such as Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler are also entering the market with electric models.
Among other things, Sono wants to differentiate itself from other manufacturers with the combination of battery and solar technology, who instead rely on batteries with longer ranges.