Sono Motors Calls for Crowdfunding to Save its Solar Car

Sono Motors is returning to crowdfunding in a last-ditch attempt to rescue plans for series production of its solar-assisted car, the Sion.

In a statement released this week, CEOs and co-founders Jona Christians and Laurin Hahn, have started the #saveSion campaign admitting that their investment plans have hit the barriers in a global downturn in investor confidence particularly in mobility tech companies. In a joint statement, they said: “As a result, financing our Sion program through equity has become increasingly challenging and dilutive. Raising money takes much longer than expected, since we failed to explain to investors why the Sion has the potential to become the world’s first affordable solar-electric vehicle and that there is a huge demand for it. One view in the investment community is that we should focus on our capital-light, revenue-generating solar business and abandon the Sion program. We understand the market situation and we could streamline our business for the long-term prosperity of our company.”

However, now the pair want to give the 21,000 Sion reservation holders a chance to keep the Sion dream alive by clubbing together to held fund the project. Their statement added: “We believe this is absolutely worthwhile, since 21,000 private reservations are the equivalent of approx. €465M ($487M) in potential revenue. Adding our roughly 22,000 B2B pre-orders worth almost €600M ($629M) in potential revenue, brings us to a potential order backlog of more than €1Bn ($1.04Bn) as of today, assuming that all reservations and pre-orders result in sales.

“So, we are starting a 50-day Sion reservation campaign for 3,500 Sion – called #saveSion. Early participants will receive a discount of up to €3,000 [only available to people located in 27 European jurisdictions] on their vehicle’s final price and payments must only be made in the event the campaign is successful. On top of that, campaign supporters can receive a fixed vehicle waiting list number.

“This would not be the first time that our Community plays an integral role in moving the Sion along on its path to production. But back in late 2019 when we did a crowdfunding campaign, the situation was completely different. The Sion was at a much earlier stage, the Sono Motors brand was significantly less established, and we had not yet built the solar B2B business pillar. That being said, we still collected more than €50M in payment commitments in just 50 days from our Community across the globe.”

The company claims 23 companies worldwide are already piloting its integrated solar technology on a variety of fleet vehicles such as buses, trailers, and electric transporters. It added that the Sion is in its final production design, vehicles from the series-validation fleet are up and running and undergoing testing. Expected retail price is still expected to be pegged at just €25,000 including taxes.

The company chiefs’ statement concluded: “If we cannot complete the campaign, we intend to focus on our attractive solar B2B business, which is significantly less capital intensive. We believe our current and expected liquidity of $55M and the resources we have on hand would enable us to successfully pivot to ‘solar only’. So, this time it’s not about Sono Motors’ future, it’s about the future of the Sion. It’s about proving to the world that change is both needed and wanted.”

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

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