Sono Motors, the Munich-based startup that aims to deliver an affordable solar electric vehicle (SEV), put its Sion prototype through the first complete crash test and the results are encouraging.
According to the German company, the crash test was rolled out at its partner facility at CSI in Italy, with the vehicle completely covered in polymer-based solar panels and painted green to ensure a high contrast. The result of the 50 km/h (31 mph) crash test revealed that the company’s proprietary solar panels didn’t splinter and thus didn't pose a danger to passengers and other road users.
The Sono Motors Sion is yet to be homologated but until this happens, the German startup wants to conduct around 300 physical component, sled, and complete vehicle tests to confirm the results of previous crash simulations. The Sion will also go through Euro NCAP crash tests.
“After years of running successful crash simulations, we are very proud to see our solar technology delivering the same satisfying and high quality results in real life. We want our customers to be able to drive with the comfort of knowing that the solar technology in their Sion is not only charging the battery for free but also adheres to the highest safety standards,” said Markus Volmer, CTO of Sono Motors.
Alongside the results of the first crash test, the company also revealed that the upcoming Sion SEV will feature a host of advanced driver assistance systems as standard: forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, attention assist, traffic sign assist, rear parking assist, and rear view camera. There are also plans of adding adaptive cruise control via an over-the-air update after the start of production.
Gallery: Sono Sion SEV Production Spec
But that production start date is currently wrapped in uncertainty, with the company previously stating that it hasn’t secured the necessary funding to begin assembly, urging EV enthusiasts to go through with their orders and saying they need 3,500 more orders to make the Sion a reality. As of today, the company says it has over 21,000 reservation holders, but it still needs about 1,650 more orders to secure funding, according to its official website.
The Sono Motors Sion is a solar electric vehicle that has most of its body panels covered in photovoltaic arrays that can charge the car’s battery when the sun’s out. The company says the starting price will be around 25,000 Euro (about $27,000 at current exchange rates), with a 3,000 Euro ($3,300) deposit when ordering.