Auto makers around the world are looking at ways to combine solar power with electric cars. Leader of the pack in Europe appears to be German startup Sono Motors, which tested the charging system of its Sion all-electric solar vehicle this summer.
Solar powered vehicles are an attractive concept. The problem is that with limited space available on cars, even the best solar panels today can only produce a few hundred watts of electricity – enough to power some in-car functions but not enough to drive an electric car more than a few kilometres. Another barrier is that cars cannot collect sunlight when they’re parked in the shade or in garages.
Meanwhile, the Sion has 330 solar cells embedded in the roof, hood, sides and rear which can produce up to 1204 watts to top up its lithium-ion drive battery. This will add up to 30 km extra range per day, free of charge. The company claims 6,500 orders and will start production in the second half of 2019. A first step towards transforming our cars from energy consumers to energy producers!