A lot of people don’t think that putting solar panels on a car makes any sense, which is fair, considering the limited real estate available. However, the folks over at Sono, a Munich-based company which recently raised $58 million in a fundraising round, would disagree with you.
The company’s first electric car, the Sion, will put solar cells on practically every piece of its exterior. Utilizing new manufacturing process, such as a lightweight clear-polymer housing for its 248 solar cells.This drastically cuts weight, and even increases efficiency. Apparently the Sion’s cells get up to 220 watts per meter, which is enough to collect an average of 3,600 solar miles per year.
With those numbers, someone could drive around 10 miles a day off of solar, or even more if they live in a sunny place. Sono even estimates a 21 mile-a-day solar rate for their hometown of Munich.
Since photovoltaic cells tend to work best when the sun is at a 90° angle, Sono has devised a tracking system, which individually manages all of the Sion’s cells to keep them at optimal performance based on the sun’s rays.
Naturally, the sun doesn’t always shine when you want it to. That’s no worry, since the Sion also has a 35 kWh water-cooled battery pack, which will achieve around 160 miles of range, and can be charged in the traditional sense. Also, it seems from their images that the Sion will feature vehicle-to-vehicle charging, which is pretty nifty!
The cars will be continental in every sense of the word, with manufacturing taking place in an old Saab plant in Sweden, and components coming from both Finland and Germany. They plan to produce their first models by the end of next year, with the bulk of deliveries taking place in 2022.