RAC Cars News


Crowdfunded electric car unveiled

By raccars Published


Solar rechargeable, six-seater Sono Sion electric car set to cost from just under £11,000.

The six-seater all-electric Sono Sion has been revealed and the first deliveries are expected to take place in two years. The entry level Urban costs around £10,800 (12,000 Euros) and will have a maximum range of 74 miles. The Extender, priced at around £14,400 (12,000 Euros, has its range boosted to 155 miles thanks to its 30kWh battery pack.

Both versions have a pair of three-seat rows and can be charged using solar energy and solar panels measuring 7.3 square metres. Few details have been released about the interior but there is a ten-inch infotainment screen which dominates the dash and which can connect to smartphones using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Moss to combat noise and pollen

In a departure from the norm, the Sono Sion electric car will not have conventional pollen filters inside. Instead, its creators have decided to use a type of moss which can purify and filter the air as it enters the cabin. Sono claims that this moss is also fire repellent and can reduce the amount of noise which enters the cabin.

Sono says that its solar-powered electric car can reach a maximum of 87mph but it has yet to reveal its zero to 62mph performance. The car has a relatively small battery meaning that it is unlikely to get close to the 2.5 second sprint time achieved by the Tesla Model S P100D.

Electric car crowdfunding trend

A crowdfunding campaign was used to raise the funds for Sono to create a range of working prototypes of the Sion electric car, and customers look set to get the chance to test them out at the beginning of next year. The firm wants to raise around £135,000 to continue with the testing plans and initial investors will get to own the first examples of the Sion, provided that sufficient funds can be secured.

There is a growing trend for electric car start-ups to use crowdfunding as a means of funding projects. These companies include older names such as Fisker and newer ones like Atieva. Earlier this year, Zenos used crowdfunding to help develop the firm’s upcoming E12 and E11 models.

Latest from Zenos

The British sports car maker, meanwhile, has begun a £250,000 research project which should see the creation of a hybrid E10R prototype. The hybrid power train could then be used in a future production sports car.

The announcement of the potential hybrid model came as Zenos celebrated the company’s 100th customer collection and the fact that all of its 2016 build slots had been taken. The Norfolk-based car maker is using a grant from the Niche Vehicle Network SME & Supply Chain Development Competition to fund the development of a hybrid E10 R with manual transmission.

The research and development project is expected to last for nine months and Zenos will work with Vocis Driveline Control, transmission specialists, the Cosworth engineering company and battery specialists Hyperdrive Innovation. The project will look at how Ford’s Ecoboost engine can be adapted to create a hybrid system. The E10 product range currently uses a 2.3-litre Ecoboost.

The managing director of Zenos, Mark Edwards, said that niche vehicle manufacturers were obliged to consider the future due to increasing emissions regulations. Combustion engine power in the lightweight Zenos range has been able to keep the vehicles within acceptable emission limits but this is likely to change in the future.

Edwards said that the company ‘would be foolish’ if it did not consider the future and added that the new research project would allow the firm to evaluate its options in terms of future vehicles.

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