Sono Motors Prepares Approval of Technology for Solar Integration into Body of Electric Vehicles

  • The project with Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE extends from the testing of the patented solar technology through to approval.

  • The approval process is to be overseen by a recognized testing services provider.

22nd October 2020 – The German electric vehicle manufacturer and mobility provider Sono Motors today announced that it is working on a project with the renowned Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. The aim of the partnership is to test and certify an innovative technology for integrating solar cells into the bodywork of electric vehicles. The partnership involves Sono Motors’ patented solar technology being comprehensively tested and taken to approval. The tests will focus in particular on producing evidence of the technology’s safety and reliability. The process of certifying the technology for use in electric cars is to be overseen by a recognized German testing services provider. Another primary objective of the collaboration between the Fraunhofer ISE and Sono Motors is to identify other potential areas of application in order to promote certification of the solar technology outside of electric cars, too.

Sono Motors’ solar technology

Sono Motors’ solar technology consists of lightweight, highly efficient photovoltaic modules, a corresponding control unit with a model for predicting the energy yield, and other system components for the electric and mechanical integration of the solar technology into the bodywork of electric vehicles. Solar modules are worked seamlessly into the surface of the body parts to supply vehicles with solar electricity. The technology will debut in Sono Motors’ Sion. Drawing on the power of the sun, the Sion’s solar system will be able to provide energy for an additional range of up to 245 km (112 km on average) a week. Production of the innovative electric car is currently scheduled to begin in 2022.

“We have been working hard on developing our solar technology ever since Sono Motors was founded. We are now in the final stages of having this one-of-a-kind technology approved. We are delighted to have the renowned Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems join us at this crucial stage, with its expertise in the area of solar integration,” comments Mathieu Baudrit, Head of Research and Development, Solar Integration, at Sono Motors.

Dr. Harry Wirth, Division Director, Photovoltaics Modules and Power Plants at Fraunhofer ISE adds: “The integration of solar modules into vehicles is a key technology for the low-carbon mobility of the future. Solar electricity increases a vehicle’s range and fewer charging stops mean lower electricity costs. We are delighted to be able to contribute our institute’s comprehensive expertise, ranging from the development and testing of solar modules to electronic applications to this joint project.”


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Sono Motors is on a mission to enable a revolutionary mobility system, where every electric vehicle is solar, shared, and independent from fossil-fuels. Today, an experienced specialist team is developing a forward-looking electric car that is suitable for daily use, the Sion. Both the Sion’s integrated solar technology and innovative mobility services will enable users to access clean mobility, harness solar energy and reduce CO2 impacts. 

Sono Motors was founded in 2016 and has rapidly grown to more than 200 employees today. The team combines a range of burgeoning global talent with industry veterans, including former employees from BMW, Nissan, Chrysler, Daimler, Audi, Mozilla, Sixt, FlixBus and mytaxi. Since its foundation, the company has raised approximately €100 million through reservations and funding. The company released its first generation Sion prototype in 2017 and has amassed 14,000 reservations with advance payments. In 2018, Sono Motors was recognized as a Solar Impulse Efficient Solution by the Solar Impulse Foundation. In January of 2020, Sono Motors successfully closed one of the largest community crowdfunding campaigns in Europe.
 
Sono Motors’ Sion intends to blend disruptive technology with affordability to enable individual contribution to global sustainability. The Sono solar technology replaces traditional paint with proprietary integrated solar panels that can form to various applications. Additionally, the Sion’s solar panels can add 112 km or 70 mi on average (up to 245 km or 152 mi) of additional driving range per week to the car’s battery. The Sion is expected to have the lowest TCO (total cost of ownership) in its category at the start of production, which is scheduled for the first half of 2023.