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The car can go 30 km per day simply using the energy from the solar panels it’s covered with. The price? Just €12 thousand.
What do you do if your electric car dies on you in the middle of nothing, with no power outlets in sight, under a scorching sun? Just wait, provided that your car was designed by Sono Motors: the German startup invented a car plastered with solar panels that can charge itself.
The vehicle, called Sion, can go about 30 km per day simply using the energy from the solar panels it’s plastered with. This autonomy level is perfect for Germany, where an average driver covers about 20 km per day.
“It’s enough for driving to work and getting the kids and going back home, and you don’t have to plug it in at all” says Jona Christians, one of the cofounders of Sono Motors. Even on a cloudy day, when the panels produce less energy, the car is able to go about 10 km without a charge.
It’s not the top of the autonomy – it’s like having a constantly half-empty tank – but the vehicle is relatively affordable, €12 thousand plus the price of the battery, and it could be particularly functional in cities, where cars are parked outside almost all the time.
The panels completely cover the hood, roof and sides of the car. “Our car is a bit bigger, which makes it not sporty like a Tesla – says Christians – But that’s not our goal. We said it has to be sufficient for families and storage and to have enough room, but it’s not about velocity and being the best car.”
The minimal design is meant to be easy to repair, and the company plans to offer instructional videos for drivers who want to make any fixes themselves.
The startup recently raised over $200 thousand in a crowdfunding campaign and is in talks with manufacturers, hoping to have models ready for test drives in mid-2017.