Sono Sion electric car.
Sono Sion electric car.

Electric car’s game-changing technology for Australia

IS THIS the perfect car for our sunburnt country?

Built by German-based start-up Sono Motors, the Sion EV has solar panels integrated into its body.

The roof, bonnet, side panels and rear are festooned with 330 lightweight solar cells.

Solar panels on cars are not a new concept, but previously they have been used to power electric systems.

However, Sono Motors says that the panels can supplement the car's electric propulsion system. The company says the panels will add an extra 30km a day to the car's range in the European summer - that figure should be higher if the car ever makes it down under.

Sono Motors rates the panels' efficiency at 24 per cent which is better than most rooftop solar systems.

Panel beater: The Sion is covered in 330 solar cells.
Panel beater: The Sion is covered in 330 solar cells.

The Sion is not dependant on the weather, as its main power source is an 80kW electric motor and battery set-up that allows for up to 250km range and a top speed of 140km/h. The 400-volt drivetrain allows for fast charging.

Sono has kept the car fairly spartan with only the basic features such as heated seats, airconditioning, infotainment screen and basic safety kit included.

But Sono has also put the green in green cars. The start-up has integrated a "special moss" into the dashboard which acts as an air filter and a humidity regulator. If you don't have a green thumb, don't worry, it requires no looking after.

Green tinge: The Sion uses moss as an air filter.
Green tinge: The Sion uses moss as an air filter.

The Sion will go on sale in Europe next year for €16,000 ($25,000).

Australia has been slow to take up electric cars, with EVs accounting for only 0.1 per cent of new car sales.

However, a flood of new products is expected to hit Australia in the coming years. The Jaguar I-Pace lands in the coming months to take on the Tesla Model X, Audi's e-tron and the Mercedes-Benz EQ C electric SUVs are due next year. and the Porsche Taycan will force its way into local showrooms in 2020. Volkswagen will commence its assault in the same year.



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