It’s a BEV minivan created by a Munich-based startup whose body will act as a solar panel.

Sono Motors is an electric vehicle startup originating in Munich, Germany whose first proposed model, the Sion, may appear uninteresting, until you take a closer look. The company plans to have  solar panels embedded into each of the car’s body panels - the aim is for a total of 248 solar cells to be placed in its fenders, doors, hood and roof and this, in theory, should help it gain range no matter what direction the sun shines from (the company says a total of 3,600 miles per year can be added via the solar cells).

Gallery: Sono Motors Soion Prototype

The startup has been working on a prototype for a few years and it appears that it is finally ready to be shown in public. It is expected to debut at the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2021), so we should see it unveiled within the next few days.

So far we’ve only really seen photos of the vehicle, but apparently the company never had a fully functional prototype until now. In spite of this, it still racked up some 12,600 reservations from potential buyers - its quite low projected sale price of €25,500 (around $31,000) may have been a factor that boosted its popularity.

With a battery capacity of just 35 kWh and a projected range of around 160 miles (250 km), the Sion definitely won’t be the longest range EV on the market. However, with a claimed 10 free miles of range per day provided by its solar panels, it might make sense for those with small urban commutes.

The Sono Sion is expected to go into production towards the end of 2021, which will be ramped up in 2022 when the first customer deliveries are expected to commence. One interesting fact to note is the production location which is the former Saab factory in Trollhättan, Sweden, where it will be built by NEVS.