Here is a business venture, spawned off a garaged project, that is every bit in the feel-good tech story genre and they are for real. Three friends with a vision built a community to start a movement, says their promotional video. Now more than 5,000 people believe in their idea. That idea is an all electric car that can charge while it is driving. The car is called the Sion.
The number represents more than 5,000 reservations from 33 countries. Sono Motors' goal, said the video notes, is to end the use of fossil fuels in exchange for sustainable mobility.
They have worked up a prototype car, equipped with 330 integrated solar cells, which recharge the battery through the power of the sun. These solar cells are embedded in roof, hood, and body sides, being integrated right into the body. The company covered the solar cells with polycarbonate, for environmental protection.
The design includes a battery system that will offer a range of around 250 km (155 miles) before it needs recharging.
The recharge would be via solar power or wall plug. The electric solar car lets you charge as you drive. All in all, they have made an electric car powered by a mix of batteries and built-in solar panels. The exterior is mainly polycarbonate that the company said is rust-proof and "scratch-resistant."
The interior has an air filter system and infotainment area with a 10 inch screen.
Stephen Edelstein took a look at the miracle car and raised a real world signpost. How much electricity are we talking about? Sono previously said the cells could provide up to 18 miles of driving range under certain conditions, he wrote, "But it's unclear how practical the solar panels will be in the real world."
Sion drivers may end up relying on the battery pack to get around, he added. Edelstein also said: "Other electric-car startups have underestimated the difficulty of building cars on a large scale, and Sono's use of solar cells adds another question mark."
Moving forward, Sono is targeting the production launch next year. Remember those 5,000 orders? The cars will be sold at $18,540, said reports. The company on its site lists a price of 16.000 € excluding the battery.
Edelstein reported that the price does not include the battery pack. For the battery pack, one can lease it or buy it.
Another talking point is the car's use of moss for air filtration and humidity regulation in the cabin. The Daily Mail: A lichen moss is used, known for its excellent air filtration.
Edelstein in The Drive said, "Think of it as nature's air filter. Sono claims the moss doesn't require watering, or any other special care."