German automaker to market auto powered by solar panels

March 4 (UPI) — German-based Sono Motors on Monday introduced the design for its new model Sion, a car which carries solar panels on the top and sides that alone provide 21 miles of additional daily range.

«The focus was placed on the full-surface incorporation of solar modules into the bodywork — one of the vehicle’s unique features that have influenced its design,» the Munich-based company said.

Sono Motors’ technology allows solar cells «to meld seamlessly into the vehicle’s surface» with the resulting 21 miles of added daily range, a distance greater than the average commuter’s time in Germany, it said.

«The production vehicle will feature full-surface integrated solar cells that are embedded in hard-wearing, resilient polymer and that contribute to the vehicle’s design aesthetic,» added Mathieu Baudrit, head of Research and Development, Solar Integration, at Sono Motors.

With the Sion, Sono Motors will introduce a carbon-offset electric car and «the first mass-produced vehicle featuring solar integration to the market,» the company said.

Sono Motors so far has about 9,500 partially paid preorders, with the vehicles expected to hit the market at $29,000.

«The carbon emissions that cannot be avoided or reduced during the vehicle’s production and manufacturing are entirely offset,» according to the company.

The first prototypes were produced in 2017. Latest models include readiness for applications for car sharing.

According to a SFGate report from January 2014, an experimental car by Ford included solar cells on the roof.

According to a blog named Green Transportation, adding solar roofs to any vehicle would not be efficient, in part due to the weight of most vehicles and also as most roofs do not provide enough space, in proportion to the weight of the vehicle.

The driving range a vehicle can get from a solar panel may be limited and not suit a long-distance driver. It could, however, work well for a commuter driving relatively short distances only twice a day.

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