German startup Sono tests solar-powered car

By RELAXNEWS | 10 August 2018

MUNICH: Munich-based startup Sono Motors is testing a vehicle with solar cells integrated into its bodywork that can charge the battery as it drives along.

The charging system for the company's all-electric Sion car is reportedly in the final stages of development.

As record hot weather continues to grip the planet, a solar-powered car than can charge its battery as it drives is probably right up there on a lot of people's wishlists.

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The Sion's air filtration and humidity regulation system uses moss integrated into the dashboard. - Reuters

Germany has set a target of having at least one million electric cars on its roads by the year 2020, but at the moment it looks likely to miss it. Not wanting to fall short of its own goal, in April 2018 the German government said it would offer support to companies developing and producing batteries for electric vehicles.

The Sion electric car is the brainchild of Sono Motors, founded as recently as 2016. This fully-electric model can be charged from conventional power outlets, from other electric vehicles, and via solar power through solar cells integrated into its body.

While a vehicle body operating as a solar cell is unusual, that's not even the most radical aspect of this revolutionary new model.

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Solar panels on the bonnet. - Reuters

Perhaps the most out-there feature of the Sion is its air filtration and humidity regulation system, which uses moss integrated into the vehicle's dashboard. The manufacturer says the moss needs no watering or any other special treatment in order to maintain it.

Some 330 solar cells are attached to the vehicle's roof, bonnet and sides and the Sion will offer a range of around 250km before it needs to be recharged.

Production gets under way in the second half of 2019 and Sono already has around 5,000 orders for the car, expected to start selling next year from as little as €16,000 (RM76,000).