German electric car developer Sono Motors has announced it is building a fleet of 37 3rd generation Sion series-validation vehicles. These cars correspond to the planned final design, and in the coming months Sono will be undertaking testing, validation and certification in anticipation of the start of mass production next year.

Described as the first “affordable solar electric vehicle for the masses” the Sion features solar photo voltaic cells integrated into the body, which should extend the range by around 250km a week and make the car energy self-sufficient on short journeys.

The test cars will undergo practical tests under extreme conditions in Europe and the US. This includes testing in different climates, optimising the solar technology, refining driving dynamics on test tracks and on public roads and crash tests.

Jona Christians, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors describes the start of the series testing phase as “another step on our way to climate-friendly mobility of the future. Getting from the first concept in a garage to this point was only possible with hundreds of engineers working tirelessly. The fleet of validation vehicles now follows our successful 2nd generation prototype program and paves the way for planned series production next year”.

Sono Motors will be supported by thyssenkrupp Automotive Body Solutions and Betrandt in series-validation vehicle production. Markus Volmer, CTO of Sono Motors says, “both partners have not only extensive expertise in automotive engineering but also the necessary infrastructure and capacity to produce our test cars quickly and with high quality.”

At an estimated sales price point of 28,500 euros, Sono says the Sion will be the first affordable solar EV. The outer shell of this family-orientated car consists of 458 seamlessly integrated solar half-cells. Bidirectional charging technology means the Sion can power electronic devices, the home or other electric cars with an output of up to 11kW, making it, as Sono describes, “a sustainable power plant on wheels”.