The solar-powered Sion electric car from manufacturer Sono Motors just started test production at the beginning of March (we reported). Now, an experienced contract manufacturer has also finally been found, bringing series production, set for 2023, within reach.
Sono Motors Sion: contract manufacturing now in Finland
The original plan was to have the Sono Motors Sion solar-powered electric vehicle manufactured by the Chinese company National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) in a former factory of the car manufacturer Saab in Trollhättan.
Now, however, the electric car startup from Bavaria has surprisingly decided to change its contract manufacturer, although it will remain in Scandinavia. The Sion will now be manufactured in western Finland by Valmet Automotive, which is making its factory in Uusikaupunki available for this purpose. Over a period of seven years, the contract manufacturer is to provide capacities of more than 257,000 vehicles.
More powerful launch, higher prices
Production of the Sion is scheduled to start in Finland in the second half of 2023. Then, however, still moderate. Currently, the company is planning “the production of a low four-digit volume in 2023”, according to the announcement from Sono Motors.
After the initial production phase, the company said it then plans to move into a ramp-up phase and together is expected to produce about 43,000 Sion per year. During production, the company also wants to “use one hundred percent renewable energy,” the company continues. However, the change of contract manufacturer also has an impact on the prices of the Sono Motors Sion. One will not be able to keep the originally set gross price of 28,500 euros. It states in this regard:
“General cost increases, the switch to Valmet Automotive and the development of new production lines will lead to an increase in financing requirements to at least 275 million euros (including expected down payments from reservations) by the planned start of production in the second half of 2023.”
By the end of March 2022, Sono Motors said it had recorded more than 17,000 direct customer reservations for the Sion model. Customers made an average down payment of 2,390 euros net. Once 18,500 reservations have been reached, the company plans to raise the price of the electric car to €29,900 including VAT – bringing the net figure (before taxes and subsidies) to €25,126. However, the promised prices for current reservations are not affected by the price increase, Sono Motors assures.
So the innovative Sion, which has its solar cells built right into the body, is launching a little later and at higher prices. The company is currently building a fleet of production validation vehicles in Germany to kick off the testing program for the Sion. The energy generated by the solar cells is thus expected to increase the estimated 305 km range of the Sion’s 54 kWh LFP battery by an average of 112 km (up to 245 km) per week.