Sono Group N.V. (Sono Motors) has announced that it decided to pivot its business model to exclusively retrofitting and integrating its solar technology onto third-party vehicles, and to terminate its Sion passenger car program as a result.
Sono Motors added the company announced a payback plan to reimburse Sion reservations with deposits made before the “#savesion” campaign in various installments including a bonus over the next two years. Although Sono Motors has terminated the Sion program, the company says it will continue to utilize patented technology developed in its ongoing integration and retrofit business. In addition, Sono Motors says it intends to sell its Sion program.
In light of the Company’s decision to terminate the Sion program, Thomas Hausch has decided to step down from his role as COO but will support the company’s transition.
The company said termination of the Sion program reflects a decision to focus on a capital-light business model – an estimated 90% of the funding needs for 2023 were generated by the Sion program – in light of depressed capital market conditions. Given the resource-intensive nature of the Sion program, including personnel requirements, the company says it is now implementing a significant cost-reduction program.
“This pivot marks a significant step in Sono Motors’ business development,” said Laurin Hahn, co-founder and CEO of Sono Motors. “Even though we had to terminate our original passion project, the Sion program, shifting our entire focus to business-to-business solar solutions provides us with an opportunity to continue to create innovative products in the solar space. It was a difficult decision and despite more than 45,000 reservations and pre-orders for the Sion, we were compelled to react to the ongoing financial market instability and streamline our business.”
The company says its solar solutions, including hardware such as power electronics and software, are already in application today, with 23 B2B customers across Europe, Asia, and the United States piloting Sono Motors’ integrated solar technology on a variety of vehicles, including third-party OEM cars, buses, refrigerated vehicles, and recreational vehicles.
Sono Motors says it is currently working as a development-partner and supplier with companies across 10 countries in Europe, Asia and the United States. Customers include Mitsubishi Europe, CHEREAU, and two Volkswagen subsidiaries – Scania and MAN Truck & Bus. Going forward, Sono Motors says it intends to focus specifically on buses and third-party OEM cars. The company says it will now scale up its technology, starting with the introduction of the next generation of its mass-market-ready retrofit solution for cleaner public transportation — the “Solar Bus Kit” — planned for the second quarter of 2023. Talks with potential investors will now exclusively focus on solar technology.
In January 2023, the company secured €1.46 million (approx. $1.54 million) in funding from the EU Commission’s European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (‘CINEA’) to advance the development of the company’s proprietary solar technology (‘SEAMLESS-PV’ project). Sono Motors has also announced that it now has 52 patents filed or granted, 42 of which are for the company’s proprietary solar technology. The number of patents filed or granted include patents relating to the same invention filed in different jurisdictions.