In the race to develop eco-friendly cars, electric vehicles have taken center stage. However, EVs, as they exist now, still have an adverse impact on the environment. To charge up, EVs get their power from the power grid, which mostly comes from fossil fuels. The answer to this problem may be solar polar, with abundant energy from the sun. To date, solar technology isn’t effective enough to make it a practical reality. However, EV start-up Sono may have made a big jump. The automaker built a Sion solar-powered electric car that can power a home and may not need a charge.
What is the Sono Sion?
The Sono Sion is an inexpensive subcompact electric car that charges itself through the power of the sun. Sono, based out of Munich, Germany, built the Sion because it wants to offer customers a cheap, practical car that is friendly to the environment.
The Sion has 248 solar cells integrated into the body of the car. On average, the cells can add 70 miles (and up to 152 miles) of driving range to the car’s battery each week. If the battery needs more power, the Sion can be charged like other electric vehicles — either using a regular home-based outlet or a DC fast charging station. At a DC fast charging station, it takes the Sion 35 minutes to reach an 80% charge.
Sono Sion: Power a home and other electric cars
When not in use, the Sono Sion can power a home and other electric cars. It features an on-board bidirectional wallbox charger, which channels the energy from the Sion’s solar cells. Compared to a conventional home energy storage system, the wallbox charger for the Sion is very large, with the ability to store 10 times more energy. It is also much cheaper than a DC wall-mounted charging station. In ideal conditions, the Sion can provide power for a home for up to five days.
Sono isn’t the only company that created a bidirectional charger. The Ford F-150 Lightning electric truck can also power a home. Also, EV start-up Lucid said that its cars will have bidirectional charging capabilities as well.
Owners of the Sion will have a lot of flexibility in how they use the solar electricity from the car. During the day, the electricity from the solar cells can power the car. At night, the Sion can power a house. If the house already has enough electricity, then the electricity can be stored in the car’s battery. To facilitate this, the Sion comes with a Sono app, which enables you to choose how you want to direct the electricity.
Sono Sion: Price and availability
Sono will start production of the Sion in spring 2023. The release of the solar-powered car will likely come later in the year. The automaker didn’t state if the Sion will be available in the United States. However, Sono will likely only sell the Sion in Europe, for now. The Sion costs €25,500 ($29,700).
Solar technology still has a ways to go. However, the Sono Sion is a step forward. The Sion isn’t as stylish or luxurious as other electric vehicles like a Tesla or a Lucid. However, it’s not meant to be. Sono designed the Sion with an eye toward affordability, practicality, and environmental sustainability.