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article imageGerman startup trials solar car that can recharge as you drive

By Karen Graham     Aug 7, 2018 in Technology
Munich - A Munich-based start-up has taken advantage of the strong Bavarian sun this summer to test the final development of the charging system of its Sion car, an all-electric solar vehicle that lets you charge as you drive.
Founded in 2016, Sono Motors is a youngster in the automaker industry, however, this has not stopped them from moving ahead in developing a fully electrically driven car which has solar cells integrated into the bodywork. The Sion can be charged using solar power, from conventional power outlets or other electric cars.
By 2017, Sono Motors had two functional prototypes built by Roding Automobile. Roding is a technological company and an elite manufacturer of the exclusive carbon lightweight Roding Roadster sports car. Roding's special focus is on the development of lightweight structures made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP).
In 2018, Sono Motors announced the award of a major order for the development and production of a battery system for its solar vehicle "Sion" to the German automotive supplier ElringKlinger. At the time, Laurin Hahn, co-founder, and CEO of Sono Motors. said: "The battery market is currently a major challenge for the entire automotive industry. The nomination of the battery supplier is an important signal to our community and the many people who have already reserved a Sion. "
330 solar cells are incorporated into the Sion s exterior.
330 solar cells are incorporated into the Sion's exterior.
Sono Motors
At this time the battery system is a water-cooled Li-Ion battery (LiMn2O4) with a capacity of 35-45 kWh and a weight of approx. 250 kilograms. It is to be used as the Sion's power storage, but because of the current rapid advances in battery technology, the final battery choice has been deferred until later in the development process.
A closer look at the Sion
Starting with the exterior of the Sion, it is mainly made up of rust-proof polycarbonate that is scratch-resistant. The most unique feature is the car's solar cells. Its 330 solar cells are attached to the roof, bonnet and sides and its battery system will offer a range of around 250 km (155 miles) before it needs recharging.
Thanks to the technology of bidirectional charging the Sion can not only generate but also provide energy. This feature turns the car into a mobile power station. Using a household plug, all common electronic devices with up to 2,7kW can be powered by the Sion.
For air filtering we integrated a special moss into the dashboard.
For air filtering we integrated a special moss into the dashboard.
Sono Motors
“We have a seat heater, there is air conditioning, there is a large infotainment system where I can also connect my phone interactively, which means I really have a full vehicle which is very simple, has no frills,” said Hahn.
The air conditioning system, called BreSono, is absolutely unique. A special moss is integrated into the dashboard. It filters up to twenty percent of the fine dust particles and has a regulating effect on the humidity inside the Sion. And the best part? It does not require watering.
Production of the Sion is expected to start in the second half of 2019 at one of Sono's German plants and the company already has around 5,000 orders from customers in 30 countries which it aims to start selling at 16,000 euros ($18,540) next year.
More about Sono, Solar car, german startup, bidirectional charging, Moss