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Sion, the world’s first mass market solar car to enter production in 2023

Published Jul 26, 2022

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Munich - Germany is known for producing some of the world’s best luxury cars, but a start-up called Sion, ironically from a town called Karben, wants to lead a significantly more sustainable future for the motor industry.

The Sion, a five-person family car covered completely in solar panels, is expected enter into serial production in the second half of 2023, the German start-up developing the vehicle said this week.

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Following years of development, Sono Motors is now building a fleet of test vehicles before confiding mass production to Valmet Automotive, a Finnish company which produces vehicles under contract.

The large black Sion estate car is covered with 456 solar cells which allow it to generate on average enough electricity over a week to power the car for 112km. The intention is to create full self-sufficiency for shorter distances.

When plugged into a wall socket or fast charger, the Sion boasts a battery range of 305km, giving owners the same flexibility as offered by a conventional electric car.

Sono Motors already has 19 000 reservations for the Sion, and the company plans to produce more than 250 000 of the vehicles over the next seven years at a price of just over 25 000 euros (R428 500) in Europe.

The vehicle is aimed at families as well as car sharing services.

Both start-ups and established carmakers have begun to integrate solar panels on electric vehicles to extend the range.

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The Lightyear 0 is supposed to begin shipping to clients later this year, but only a thousand or so are to be produced at a rather steep price tag of 250 000 euros (R4.28 million).

The Spain-based firm plans to roll out a mass market vehicle in 2024-2025.

The California start-up Aptera hopes to deliver a two-seat three-wheel vehicle next year and has 25 000 orders.

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One version of the vehicle with a range of 400 kilometres costs $26 000, while another with 1600 kilometres in range costs $46 000.

IOL & AFP

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