Sono Motors has released an update on the development and financing of the Sion. Among other things, the Sion’s work packages and suppliers are being defined while other aspects, such as the legal details of their Sono Points system will still take some time.
At the beginning of December 2019, Sono Motors declared negotiations with a potential major investor to have failed and subsequently radically changed its financing concept: A crowdfunding campaign was to raise 50 million euros by the end of December – after an extension, this mark was reached in mid-January 2020.
As the company has now announced in a Facebook post, over 36 million euros have come in since 21 February (i.e. one month after the end of the extended campaign). Sono Motors says that they are “currently pursuing several financing strategies,” in their Facebook post. The German solar-car startup says that the campaign and the attention it generated has proven helpful in this regard. “Feedback from investors and banks has been very positive,” they wrote.
However, much of the money will not stay with Sono Motors for long: The company plans to build four prototypes of the current version, which, together with further preparations for series production, which they say will cost around 15 million euros. In addition, further investments will be made in the development of the “goSono” app and the backend. Further information on a pilot project to test the planned mobility services is expected to be available soon.
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There is also a new interim status regarding the announced interim solution for pre-orderers. They will now be able to lease a Renault Zoe until the Sion is delivered. “We’re almost done. We are finalising contracts,” writes Sono Motors. “This will also be quite complex as such a case is unprecedented. Also, together with our partners, we are implementing these solutions into the systems,” they write, promising that more information will follow.
With its innovative financing campaign, the German startup has a number of loose ends to tie up. They say that “the processing of the Sono Points is ongoing,” explaining that “the issue is very complex since nothing comparable has ever been done.” Contract negotiations with the suppliers for the prototypes must also be legally secured.
Sono Motors has already reached an agreement with one supplier. The Finnish company Valoe Oyj, with which Sono Motors has been working since 2018, was selected as the technology partner for the solar components. Valoe has co-developed the Sion-shaped solar modules which are adapted to the design of the car using technology developed by Sono Motors.
The IBC cells from Valoe enable the integration of solar cells into the body of the car´s surfaces. The outside surfaces of the car are completely covered in solar panels that are embedded into the lightweight body parts. Both companies assert that the car’s exterior can generate an additional range of up to 34 km.
Valoe CEO Iikka Saviisalo said that: “Two years of Technology Cooperation created very positive results”.
The Sion will be manufactured with NEVS in the former SAAB factory in Trolhättan in Sweden. Currently, Sono Motors has more than 10,000 pre-orders for the Sion and intends to produce 260,000 units over the model’s eight-year lifetime.
With additional reporting by Carrie Hampel
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