Test: First solar family car

The first solar/electric Sion car visited campus this week. TU Delta asked Nuna specialist Steven de Rooij for his opinion.

Studenten discussiëren over de Sion Car. (Foto’s: Mirjam van der Ploeg)

The Sion car by Sono Motors from Munich drives like any electric car: smooth, silent and with super acceleration (thanks to the 80 kW engine). Sion seats four adults easily, has a spacious and flat trunk, and it grows moss for natural air treatment.

After a tour through European capital cities in Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Germany, the Sono Motors promotion team now visits the Netherlands. They want to share their vision of climate-friendly, shared and fair mobility, and they offer demonstration drives. Last Tuesday they visited Delft.

The 35 kWh batteries allow a 250 kilometre range. If the sun shines, you can drive another 30 kilometres for free. The maximum solar power is 1.2 kilowatts, harvested by 330 solar cells spread over a 7.5 square metre surface all over the car. So although the PV panels promote an ecological image, 90% of the Sion car is actually a plug-in electric car.

TU Delft student Steven de Rooij was technical manager for last year’s Nuon Solar Team. “The Nuna is all about efficiency and zero comfort. It drives 80 kilometres per hour on only 800 Watts of power, and the whole car only weighs 140 kilograms. If you want to bring that technology to consumer cars, you have to adapt it to the market and I think they (Sono Motors) did very well.”

De Rooij was surprised by the low cost of the solar panels. Sono Motors say they are 24% efficient. De Rooij would expect that 330 of these highly efficient cells would cost as much as the whole car.

Moss cleans the incoming air. (Photo: Mirjam van der Ploeg)

Like the T-Ford of a century ago, the Sion car is only available in black. It’s one of the ways in which Sono Motors is trying to keep the price low. Using standard parts from the automobile industry also helps, so that Sono Motors offers the all-electric Sion car for EUR 20,000. Over 7,300 people have made a reservation. Deliveries are planned for the end of 2019.


Science editor Jos Wassink

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