German electric car startup Sono Motors unveiled the crowdfunded prototype of its battery and solar-powered vehicle; the Sion.

The ambitious project is now one step closer to reality.

The Sion’s most differentiating feature is a new system of integrated solar cells:

“The Sion is equipped with 330 integrated solar cells, which recharge the battery through the power of the sun. To protect them from harmful environmental influences we covered the solar cells with polycarbonate. It is shatterproof, light and particularly weather resistant. Under proper conditions the solar cells generate enough energy, to cover 30 kilometers per day with the Sion. We call this system viSono.”

That’s ~18 miles of range added the vehicle’s ~50 miles (80 km) range for the version with a 14.4 kWh battery pack and ~120 miles (193 km) for the version with a 30 kWh battery pack.

But the key words are “under proper conditions” since a car’s body is hardly the best spot to install solar cells, even though Sono Motors has an innovative way to integrate them:

The Sion’s advantage is that it has been designed to be a lightweight city car, which means that its efficiency would require less solar power to propel it further.

Nonetheless, it means no parking in garages or in the shade, which isn’t exactly practical and the reason why the vehicle is mainly a battery-powered car.

Speaking of the battery, it doesn’t actually come with the car. Sono decided to sell the battery pack separately and offer the option to lease it like Renault does with the Zoe.

The price of the Sion is €16,000 (~$18,000 USD) currently), but buyers would have to pay an estimated additional fee to acquire the battery pack or pay a monthly fee.

Other features include a 10-inch center touchscreen and a “bidirectional charging technology:

“Thanks to the technology of bidirectional charging the Sion can not only generate but also provide energy. This feature turns the car into a mobile power station. Using a household plug, all common electronic devices with up to 2,7kW can be powered by the Sion. You can plug in your electronic devices and power them with the Sions battery. Over a type 2 plug the Sion can provide even more power with up to 7,6 kW.”

With this week unveiling, Sono Motors also delayed the timeline for production by one year. They are now targeting production in 2019 and taking pre-orders right now via their website.

The company is offering discounts based on the value of the deposits:

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They are first targeting deliveries in Germany, where they are located.

Would you reserve the Sion? If so (or not), let us know why in the comment section below.

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