Sono Motors: the European startup for electric cars
Could a small, young, German start-up potentially challenge the world’s largest automotive brands and make a massive breakthrough in the electric cars market? Sono Motors is on the right track to do just that, and is well on its way to begin production of one of the first affordable electric cars, the Sion. This vehicle will include many interesting and unique features like solar panels on the bodywork. The team is getting closer and closer each day to their 5,000-cars pre-order goal. If you are thinking of buying a new car, why not take a look at Sono Motors’ project?
Sono Motors was started in 2016 by three co-founders: Jona Christians, Laurin Hahn, Navina Pernsteiner. Here is what the CEO, Laurin Hahn has to say about his company’s innovative work in this area.
Why did you decide that you wanted to produce an electric car?
LAURIN HAHN: The main reason we started this project was to finally take the future of mobility into our own hands. We were tired of people just lamenting about all the problems in the world without taking action, such as global warming, so we decided to dedicate ourselves to a project which has the potential to fundamentally change the way we get from Point A to Point B.
IN THE PHOTO: THE FOUNDERS OF SONO MOTORS PHOTO CREDIT: SONO MOTORS
What are the greatest technical challenges you are facing in the production of this electric vehicle?
LH: Oh, there are many challenges. But producing an electric vehicle is not the biggest problem – to stay within our financial range of 16,000 Euro for the whole car (battery excluded) – that is a tough one.
We are following a strategy called ‘carry-over part’. We develop and build the space frame of the car by ourselves, but buy certificated and tested parts from other companies. For example, the light apparatus can be a part from another big car company. This way, we save millions of Euros, whereas other companies put this money into expensive development.
Can you share with us more details behind the concept of putting solar panels around the car? And the benefits and issues related to it?
LH: Well actually, it is really easy. We were thinking: if energy is such a big problem nowadays, why not use everything from the world around us? Why should cars not be more than means of transportation? Why can a car not be a mobile power plant at the same time?
The viSono system as we call it, our solar panel system, is able to transform solar energy into power which can be useful for everything: you can feed it into your solar panel system at home, you can use it for driving (30 kilometres range per day, under good circumstances) or you can recharge your mobile devices.
This goes hand in hand with biSono. Since the Sion is not just capable of receiving energy but also to pass it on, the car can also recharge other cars. Of course, the solar energy cannot cover the entire demand of the car’s energy – but it can add its part to it, so why not do it? It is free, and it is 100% clean!
IN THE PHOTO: THE biSONO ELECTRIC CHARGING SYSTEM PHOTO CREDIT: SONO MOTORS
What do you think are the most interesting features of the car beside being an EV?
LH: With the Sion we are not just presenting another EV, we are offering a whole new concept of mobility. Right now, we are facing two major problems of contemporary mobility:
On one hand, millions of cars are not in use during the day, and on the other hand when they are used, they usually serve just one person even though more people could profit from the distance travelled. Imagine what it would mean for the development of transportation in huge cities, when more people would share one car, instead of all going in their individual cars and causing huge traffic jams and CO2 emissions.
For us, these two problems have to be solved if we really want to tackle the issue of emission caused by mobility – especially in larger cities. That is why we integrate certain mobility services from the start, which can then be used by owners of the vehicle, but also from outside parties via our smartphone app. We call these services goSono.
The goSono app combines three remarkable features of the Sion: power sharing, ride sharing and car sharing. By using your smartphone, you can offer others electricity, a ride with your Sion or lend your car for a certain time.
IN THE PHOTO: THE INTERIOR OF THE FULL ELECTRIC SONO MOTORS SION PHOTO CREDIT: SONO MOTORS
Do you have plans for further developing the cars in the future or producing other vehicles?
LH: Right now, we are focusing on getting the Sion on the streets in Summer 2019. That is our top priority. More than 3,100 people already pre-ordered the Sion and it is the responsibility of my team and me not to disappoint these people.
But sure – if everything works out fine, why not further develop the Sion? Maybe we will build different kinds of cars. It is possible to transport our concept onto other models, so we will see.
IN THE PHOTO: THE EXTERIOR OF THE SONO MOTORS SION PHOTO CREDIT: SONO MOTORS