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Sono Motors and Valmet Automotive sign terms to manufacture Sion SEVs in Finland, but will hike prices again

Sono Motors announced it has signed a term sheet with contract manufacturer, Valmet Automotive, to produce the latter’s Sion solar electric vehicle (SEV) in Finland beginning in 2023. Due to increased manufacturing costs and a need for additional funding, the Sion SEV will soon see a second price increase in less than six months.

Sono Motors is a German automotive startup founded in 2016 that specializes in solar electric vehicles that garner additional charge from the sun. By integrating proprietary solar panels into the exterior its Sion SEV, Sono’s flagship vehicle can gain an additional 70-150 miles of range per week from the sun alone.

The Sion is currently in its series-validation phase and remains on track to begin deliveries to all current reservation holders by 2023. Speaking of which, Sono Motors is reporting over 17,000 Sion reservations as of March 31, 2022. The first 15,000 or so reservation holders were able to lock in the Sion’s original price of €21,400 ($23,350). However, Sono Motors upped that price to €23,950 ($26,100) for any reservations made after November 15, 2021.

With its latest announcement, Sono Motors will increase pricing on its Sion SEV for a second time before reaching start of production. Speaking of which, we have learned that Sono’s Sion manufacturing will take place in Finland next year with the help of Valmet Automotive.

Sono Valmet
The upcoming Sion SEV / Source: Sono Motors

Sono Motors Sion: Product of Finland by Valmet Automotive

According to a recent press release from Sono Motors, it has signed a binding term sheet with contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive to build the Sion SEV at its plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland.

Per the agreement, Valmet will provide capacity to produce more than 257,000 vehicles over a seven-year period. The parties intend to produce approximately 43,000 SEVs per year. Laurin Hahn, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors spoke about the new deal with Valmet:

The cooperation marks another milestone towards delivering the Sion to our growing Community. We are convinced that collaborating with such a reliable and experienced partner is an excellent match for bringing the Sion to the streets, while securing high quality standards. We value Valmet Automotive’s experience in manufacturing premium automobiles and their proven track record in electro mobility. Together we are well positioned to keep our promise and deliver a climate-neutral Sion to our customers.

As Hahn states, Valmet Automotive is certainly experienced. Since beginning car manufacturing in 1968 as a joint venture with Saab, it has built over 1.7 million vehicles as a contract manufacturer for OEM’s around the globe. Today, Valmet Automotive sits as one of the world’s most sustainable contract manufacturers, having been certified as climate neutral as of January 1, 2022.

Valmet’s dedication to sustainability is copacetic with Sono Motors’ company nucleus to eliminate emissions and integrate renewables wherever possible. This is similar for fellow SEV manufacturer, Lightyear, who announced a manufacturing contract with Valmet last summer.

Production for 946 planned Lightyear One SEVs should begin in Finland this summer. Alongside Sono Motors’ new contract, Valmet Automotive is quickly becoming the production hub for SEVs.

Sion SEV price increases

As part of the manufacturing announcement with Valmet, Sono Motors also shared that it will be increasing the price of its Sion SEV yet again. Those previous 15k reservation holders are locked in at the original price (€21,400), while any reservations since then have been priced at €23,950. That’s about 2,000 reservation holders, based off Sono’s current count of around 17,000 total.

However, due to increases in manufacturing costs as a result of higher prices for production facilities and supplier components like raw materials, energy, and logistics, Sono Motors will up the Sion price again. Once reservations reach 18,500, the German automaker plans to increase the Sion’s price to €25,126 ($27,400).

Note – all Euro prices do not include German VAT. This increased price with VAT is €29,900 ($32,600). Sono Motors COO, Thomas Hausch, spoke to the price hike:

By adapting our pricing according to the current economic environment, we are able to reflect our increased costs while continuing to offer our customers a completely sustainable SEV at a very attractive price.

An EV that can gain range from the Sun priced below €30,000 should still be enticing to many consumers, as long as you live in Europe.

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