Is This the $25,000 Electric SUV We’ve Been Waiting For?

Could this $25,000 electric SUV be the cheapest electric SUV you can soon buy? The SUV world is going electric, but let’s face it, the range and price of many of the SUVs we can buy today limits them. Today, the cheapest E.V. you can buy is the Chevy Bolt EUV, at about $26,500. But German startup company Sono Motors is promising that its new Sion SUV will not only undercut that but also charge via solar panels. So, could the new solar-powered (!) Sono Sion SUV really be the $25,000 electric SUV we’ve been waiting for?

What is the Sono Sion $25,000 electric SUV, and is it really solar-powered?

Sono Sion EV at the Golden Gate Bridge
Sono Sion SUV | Sono Motors

German company Sono Motors is prepping to sell the new Sion electric car that can self-charge via solar panels on the body. The company is now taking orders for the Sion and says it has received more than 42,000 reservations. And, yes, the company says it should start at $25,000 and seat five in comfort. The company plans to start production of the Sion in Finland in the second half of 2023. It aims to produce 275,000 Sions in the next seven years.

Yes, the interior is covered in living, growing, moss on the cheapest electric SUV

Sono Sion interior with moss
Yes, the green is moss in the Sono Sion interior | Sono Motors

So far, the company hasn’t released any performance figures, but the Sion does make about 200 lb-ft of torque, which is about 66 less than the Bolt. It has about 23 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, which is about the same as a Kia Soul. Inside, it has dual 8-inch and 10-inch screens and moss (yes, really) growing on the dash. Lightyear 0 is also promising a solar-powered car soon.

Sono covered the Sion in 456 solar half-cells. Those cells are not as efficient as charging from the grid. But the company says that they boost its 190-mile range by 70 miles per week or up to 150 miles in optional (super sunny) conditions. The SUV has bi-directional charging capability, which means it can return power to the grid.

What is Sono Motors beyond the cheapest electric SUV?

Sono Sion car at the NASDAQ offices
Sono Sion SUV | Sono Motors

Sono Motors is a German firm that has developed partnerships with a company in Finland to produce the Sion. It has a patented polymer-based technology that it uses for its solar panels, according to CNBC. But the company has plans beyond a funky, all-black, compact SUV.

“Our solar solutions are intended to enable trucks, buses, trailers, and other commercial vehicles to harness the power of the sun to reduce fossil fuel usage and costs without compromising on range — or anything else. Companies across Europe and the United States are already using or piloting our licensable technology on their fleet vehicles and we’re eager to help even more American fleet operators,” said Sono CEO Laurin Hahn in a news release.

In October, the company announced that European bus makers Scania and LLT are testing its solar kit for E.V. busses.

The Sono Sion is on tour

If you’ve been in L.A. or San Francisco, you may have seen a Sion prototype cruising around. The car, which is officially called 3.10 has been affectionately named “Nepetun” for the trip. It has shown up in several well-known spots, like the Golden Gate Bridge and the NASDAQ offices in San Fran.

The tour has taken it to New York, to Los Angeles, where it found a welcome audience with Whoopi Goldberg.