Sono Motors, a German start-up that was working on a solar minivan called Sion, announces the abandonment of the project due to financial difficulties.
The threat had been looming for several weeks. The Munich start-up Sono Motors, which has been working for a few years on a solar minivan called Sion, finally stops the project before its end. The company, in financial difficulty, had launched crowdfunding to try to maintain the project, without success.
Despite the enthusiasm of some for this solar-powered vehicle with 456 photovoltaic cells on its black body, the company had announced that the number of reservations was not high enough. He needed the equivalent of 105 million euros (about 3,500 Sion) to save the project. The deadline for the kitty, recently exceeded without reaching half of the set objective, had been extended by 33 days and left some hope for the supporters of the young brand. The program is finally stopped even before this term as we learned in a press release.
Focus on its role as a technology supplier to other manufacturers
“Solar mobility solutions provider Sono Group announced today that it has decided to shift its business model towards the exclusive integration of its solar technology on third-party vehicles, and to end its Zion passenger cars effective today,” the company expressed in its statement on February 24.
We therefore understand that this is the end of the Sion minivan, in development since 2017 and yet well advanced. The production model was planned for 2024. This implies the dismissal of around 300 people working on the project, but not the end of Sono Motors. The company thus prefers to focus on its role as a supplier to other companies, by continuing to develop solar technology for other manufacturers. She works in particular for Mitsubishi and subsidiaries of Volkswagen.
Does solar have a lead in the wing?
The end of the Sion project takes place just one month after the discontinuation of the Lightyear 0 solar sedan. This very ambitious project (1,000 units only, at €250,000 each) was abandoned by the Dutch start-up after a long development. This shows the difficulty of companies to innovate in this difficult sector. Fortunately, the company managed to bounce back by appealing to its investors, and embarked on another project: a second vehicle called Lightyear 2, more modest. With a price of around €40,000 and an announced range of around 800 km, the new model already seems to be hitting the mark, since the start-up is announcing around 60,000 reservations.
Photos : Sono Motors.
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