(AFP) — The Sion, a five-person family car covered completely in solar panels, should enter into serial production in the second half of 2023, the German start-up developing the vehicle said Monday.
Following years of development, Sono Motors is now building a fleet of test vehicles before confiding mass production to Valmet Automotive, a Finnish company that produces vehicles under contract.
The large black Sion hatchbacks are covered with 456 solar cells, which allow them to generate on average enough electricity over a week to power the car 112 kilometers (70 miles).
The car, which boasts a battery range of 305 kilometers, is aimed at families as well as car sharing services.
Sono Motors already has 19,000 reservations for the Sion, with the average advance of 2,225 euros ($2,225) helping finance development.
The company plans to produce more than 250,000 vehicles over the next seven years at a price of just over 25,000 euros.
Both startups and established carmakers have begun to integrate solar panels on electric vehicles to extend the range.
The Lightyear 0 is supposed to begin shipping to clients later this year, but only a thousand or so are to be produced at a price tag of 250,000 euros.
The Spain-based firm plans to roll out a mass market vehicle in 2024-2025.
The California start-up Aptera hopes to deliver a two-seat three-wheel vehicle next year and has 25,000 orders.
One version of the vehicle with a range of 400 kilometers costs $26,000, while another with 1,600 kilometers in range costs $46,000.
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