A solar-powered electric car that can recharge itself while being driven is expected to hit the German car market as early as 2019، according to "RAC".
Called the Sion، the model has 330 solar cells integrated into its bodywork and can be charged via solar power، conventional electric charging points and even other electric cars.
These solar cells combine to a total area of 7.5 square metres، built into the car’s roof، bonnet and side panels، giving the Sion a unique look.
The model – developed by Munich-based start-up Sono Motors – also features a type of Icelandic moss integrated into the dashboard which naturally filters out dust particles in the air and regulates in-car humidity.
Two versions of the Sion will become available on the market، the ‘Urban’ and the ‘Extender’، with prices expected to start from around €16،000 (£14،320).
On a full charge، the ‘Urban’ will achieve a range of up to 120km (75 miles) and the ‘Extender’ up to 250km (155 miles). The models are able to generate up to 30km of range a day from the solar panels.
According to Sono، bidirectional charging means the Sion will also be able to use its energy to charge other things، such as camping stoves and external lights.
Laurin Hahn، co-founder of Sono Motors، said: “We have a seat heater، there is air conditioning، there is a large infotainment system where I can also connect my phone interactively، which means I really have a full vehicle which is very simple، has no frills.”
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The development of the Sion comes as Germany looks to meet its own target of having 1 million electric cars on its roads by 2020. In April 2018، the German government announced it would provide support for any companies looking to develop suitable batteries.
In the UK، a recent announcement by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling saw the government commit to spending £400 million in a bid to boost the electric vehicle industry.
The ‘Road to Zero’ strategy could see hundreds of thousands of new charging points rolled out across the country، including plans to install points on lamp posts.