Sono Motors is an EV startup whose ambition was to develop and sell an affordable solar electric hatchback that would essentially democratize solar EVs in a way other manufacturers have so far not been able to. Last October we reported that the company had reached 15,000 paid reservations for its Sion model, and since then it has shown what is basically the finished production version of the solar EV and most recently it announced that reservations have passed the 20,000 mark.

All these 20,000 private reservations are paid, with the average downpayment being around the €2,000 mark, according to Sono Motors, although some have already paid considerably more of the €25,126 net asking price. Production is still about one year away, though, but it should start in the second half of 2023 if all goes to plan. The Sono Sion will be manufactured by Valmet Automotive in Finland it could start reaching customers late next year or in early 2024.

Gallery: Sono Sion SEV Production Spec

What makes the Sion special are the solar cells embedded into pretty much any flat surface on its body: the hood, the roof, the fenders, the quarter panels and the hatch in the back. Only the front fascia is completely devoid of solar panels, but that’s because the frontal section needs to be easy and relatively cheap to replace in the event of an accident.

Sono says that the Sion’s impressive array of 456 solar cells should give it an average of 112 km (70 miles) of free range every week and that number can be more than double in sunny conditions. Being based in Germany, though, the company is keeping its extra range estimate conservatory, but based on our own past talks with company representatives, they know it can provide more.

With no free energy from the Sun, the Sion’s 54 kWh battery pack will take it 305 km (190 miles) on the WLTP test cycle. Charging isn’t especially quick, capped at 75 kW, but given the relatively small battery, it needs just 35 minutes to be charged up to 80 percent and an extra 24 minutes on top of that for the battery to be brimmed.

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