Sono Sion Solar Car updated with a new 54 kWh battery pack

Munich-based Sono Motors has updated its sole solar car offering, the Sono Sion, with an all-new battery, which promises better range and charging power over the erstwhile battery. The decision of updating the electric powertrain of the car was taken after a mass-oriented survey, which was participated by the existing people who have reserved the car.

Sono Sion front three quarter view
Based on a survey conducted on the people who have reserved the Sion, Sono Motors has updated the battery pack of the solar electric car. Image: Sono Motors

Changes introduced to the Sono Sion

Considered to be one of the safest in the market right now, the new lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery doesn’t use traditional elements like cobalt, nickel, and manganese. Unlike the erstwhile 35 kWh battery pack, which had a maximum range of 255 km, the new 54 kWh battery pack of the Sion comes with an enhanced range of 305 km.

Apart from the new battery pack, the Sono Sion solar car remains visually unchanged to the production prototype showcased at the all-digital CES 2021. The charging rate of the battery has gone up from 50 kW to 75 kW. In addition to this, the battery life span has seen a jump to 3000 cycles or up to 900,000 km. However, the maximum power and torque ratings of the three-phase synchronous motor to which this battery is paired still stand at 120 kW and 270 Nm, respectively.,

Laurin Hand, CEO of Sono Motors, has claimed that over 90% of the existing holders who have reserved the car in advance did root for a more powerful battery pack. Hence, the decision of a new battery pack for the solar car was taken, before the car hits the production line. Till date, the company has already garnered over 13,000 bookings for the Sion solar car.

Sono Sion rear three quarter view
Apart from a new battery pack, the rest of the design and features list of Sono Sion remains unchanged. Image: Sono Motors

In an interview with in April 2020, Laurin Hahn, CEO & Co-Founder, Sono Motors, had said that the trial production of the Sono Sion solar car will begin in September 2021. Perhaps the development is delayed a little due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Series production was scheduled to commence in 2022 at Saab’s erstwhile production plant at Trollhattan, Sweden, through a partnership with NEVS. Speaking to in July last year, Hahn had said that the Sono Sion would be available in only solar-cell black color.

Thanks to a body made purely of solar panels, standing out in the crowd of electric cars or electric car startups won’t be a concern for the Sono Sion. The body of the Sono Sion has 248 solar cells integrated into it, making it the first car to do so as most solar-powered cars or solar-assisted cars have cells on the roof or the hood, case in point, the Lightyear One.

In the Sion, the solar cells are placed all around the body so that some of the cells will always be in the direct path of the sunlight during the day. The Sion solar car can run an additional 34 km per day (5800 km a year) with the help of solar cells.

Sono Sion Specifications

As far as specifications are concerned, the front wheels will continue to be driven by a 120 kW/270 Nm electric motor and the car can reach 100 km/h in 9 seconds and a top speed of 140 km/h. The battery can be charged to 80 percent in 12.5 hours with a 3.7 kW household charger and to 100 percent in 5 hours with a type 2 standard charging station. With the fast charging station (CCS), the Sion can be charged up to 80 percent (240 km range) in 35 minutes, with additional 24 minutes required to reach 100 percent battery range.

Sono Sion dashboard
The cabin of the Sono Sion remains unchanged and gets features like a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system and front heated seats. Image: Sono Motors

Other features of the Sion solar car include 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, front heated seats, ambient lighting, automatic climate control, cruise control, driver, passenger & side airbags, rear parking assistance and more. Two years/100,000 km warranty comes standard.

Sono Motors plans to manufacture a total of 2,60,000 Sion solar cars over a period of eight years at the Trollhättan plant in Sweden, where Saabs were produced before the brand went bankrupt. Last year, Sion was said to be having over 13,000 reservations for the solar car, which costs 25,500 Euros. Initially, the car will be available to customers in the European Union.

Sono Sion SpecificationsFigures
Length4,470 mm
Width2,080 mm
Height1,660 mm
Wheelbase2,830 mm
Ground Clearance165 mm
Track width front1,580 mm
Track width rear1,580 mm
Boot space650 liters
Unladen weight1,730 kg
Maximum authorized mass2,180 kg
Sono Sion Technical DetailsFigures
Steering Turning circle (m)<11 m
SuspensionMacPherson struts
Maximum speed140 km/h
0–100 km/h< 9 seconds
Range (WLTP)305 km
Charge75 kW (CCS) + up to 11 kW (Type 2)
Discharge11 kW (Type 2) + 3.7 kW (SchuKo)
Drive configurationFront wheel drive
MotorThree-phase synchronous motor
Operating voltage278–400 volts
Power120 kW
Torque270 Nm
Recuperation50 kW
Battery54 kWh
Sono Sion FeaturesIncluded features
ExteriorTire repair kit (12 volt compressor and tire sealant)
• Exterior mirrors same color as body
• LED headlights
• Windshield wipers with intermittent operation
• Full-surface solar integration to generate
additional range through the sun
• All-weather tires/tire size (205/60R16)
• Steel wheels/16 inches/anthracite
Interior• ISOFIX children’s seat connectors
• Three point seat belt
• Electric windows
• Folding rear seat backs, divided (60/40)
• Front seat heating
• Single zone automatic climate control
• Integrated breSono system with ambient lighting
Electronics• Charging plug under hood with separate cover,
charging capacity automatically adjusted
• Central locking
• Range optimized using brake energy regeneration
• Instrument cluster with econometer, body computer module, external temperature display
• Infotainment system with integrated connectivity,
10 inch display, USB connection and Bluetooth
• USB (2x Type C) and cup holders located in
center console
• Cruise control
• Four speakers in the front of the car
• Mobility services/goSono systems:
powerSharing, rideSharing, carSharing
Safety• Anti-lock braking system
• ESP with traction control
• Electronic power steering
• Driver, passenger and side airbags
• Passenger airbags can be deactivated
• Seat occupant detection
• Rear parking assistance

Featured image: Sono Motors