The sun sets on Sono’s development of a solar-powered passenger vehicle

German company, Sono Motors, announced late in February that the group was abandoning the development of a solar-powered passenger vehicle.

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The Sono Group was one of three companies aggressively pursuing the development of a solar-powered passenger vehicle, the other two being Southern California-based Aptera Motors, and Dutch company, Lightyear.

The company announced that was pivoting to a business that aimed to sell its solar vehicle technology to other companies and in the light of the decision, laid off 300 employees.

In a statement Sono Motors said: “The Company’s solar solutions, including hardware such as power electronics and software, are already in application today, with 23 B2B customers across Europe, Asia and the United States piloting Sono Motors’ integrated solar technology on a variety of vehicles, including third-party OEM cars, buses, refrigerated vehicles and recreational vehicles. Fleet operators can benefit from integrating Sono Motors’ technology to save fuel, costs and CO2, thereby contributing to the fight against climate change through a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Termination of the Sion programme reflects a decision to focus on a capital-light business model – an estimated 90% of the funding needs for 2023 were generated by the Sion programme – in light of depressed capital market conditions. Given the resource-intensive nature of the Sion programme, including personnel requirements, the Company is now implementing a significant cost reduction programme.

“This pivot marks a significant step in Sono Motors’ business development," said Laurin Hahn, co-founder and CEO of Sono Motors. “Even though we had to terminate our original passion project, the Sion programme, shifting our entire focus to business-to-business solar solutions provides us with an opportunity to continue to create innovative products in the solar space. It was a difficult decision, and despite more than 45,000 reservations and pre-orders for the Sion programme, we were compelled to react to the ongoing financial market instability and streamline our business.”

Sono Motors is currently working as a development-partner and supplier to companies across ten countries in Europe, Asia and the United States. Customers include Mitsubishi Europe, CHEREAU, and two Volkswagen subsidiaries – Scania and MAN Truck & Bus. Talks with potential investors will now exclusively focus on solar technology.

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