Continental Joins Sono Motors in Solar Car Push

Continental has joined the project to get solar-assisted EVs on the road by next year with its agreement with German solar mobility automaker Sono Motors.

Continental Engineering Services (CES), the technology company’s in-house development service provider, has made available an extensive portfolio of products and tailor-made developments to the automaker. Current series-validation vehicles, for instance, will be equipped with the supplier’s ADAS and will be provided with software for the torque management, climate control and the energy, charging and thermal management of the powertrain.
In addition, Continental has been working with Sono Motors since 2018 on the Sion’s 120 kW electric motor, the pre-series vehicle control unit, the body control module and the airbag control unit. The Sion boasts 456 solar half-cells integrated into the body to enable the vehicle to charge its battery in sunlight, adding an average of 70 miles a week of driving range to the car’s battery.

The current series-validation vehicles of the Sion will be equipped with a customized ADAS system, including multifunction camera, long-range radar and rear-view camera, a comfort control unit, software for the central control unit for the powertrain (vehicle control unit, VCU), software for climate control and thermal management of the electric motor, a passive start and entry system and a start/stop button.
Furthermore, a specific process for identifying, assessing and mitigating risks at the electronic control unit level was developed for Sono Motors. This TARA assessment at the overall vehicle and electronic control unit level is essential for all further cybersecurity activities.
Dr Christoph Falk-Gierlinger, managing director of CES, said: “We are particularly committed to sustainable mobility solutions and are therefore delighted to work on a climate-friendly and exciting mobility project with Sono Motors. The Sion is unique for its kind: an electric car that can also run on self-generated electricity from solar energy. As Continental’s engineering service provider, we can draw on components that have proven themselves many times over and adapt them to the customer’s needs. The customer obtains everything – from the sensor to the software – from a single source, which guarantees lean coordination processes.”
Laurin Hahn, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors, added: “By working with an experienced partner like Continental, we have made rapid and decisive progress in our development. Continental shares our enthusiasm for new approaches in vehicle development and supports us in perfectly and safely mapping our customer needs.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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