Sion – a solar camper
The development of this car has been terminated by Sono Motors in February 2023.
“A spacious electric car with a range of up to 305 kilometres that charges itself through the power of the sun.” – this says it all! It is the cheapest electric car out there and on top of that, it has built-in solar panels that can charge the car and your appliances. Or even other cars and things around you.
There isn’t much information available beyond the prototype specs on Sono Motors, but the Sion is looking very promising as a camping car. It isn’t the biggest – but it’s big enough (about as long as the short version of the Caddy). What sets it apart is its ability to charge itself – if you are driving in a sunny country, you could add 112-245km to your range for free!
The boot length is 163cm – not that much for sleeping, but with the front seats pushed forward, you could get 180cm of actual length.
It won’t dazzle you with comfort – it wouldn’t be able to keep its low price tag, but the comfort and luxury-seeking crowd isn’t Sion’s target audience. It’s the environmentally conscious, practicality over comfort and EV-enthusiastic buyer that will find all this in the car.
As it is still a prototype, its dimensions might change – we’ll keep it updated as much as we can!
NimbleCamper rating: 2.6/5
Based on available information and assumed comfort as no real ratings are available yet
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Charging – plug types
EUROPEAN HOUSEHOLD PLUG – (SCHUKO)
The time to charge up to 80% with a SchuKo to type 2 adapter cable can be up to 12.5 hours, depending on the load capacity of the socket.
STANDARD CHARGING STATION – (TYPE 2)
This method takes 4 hours to provide 80 % charge and 5 hours for 100 %.
FAST CHARGING STATION (CCS)
The Sion can reach 80 % charge in 35 minutes using CCS. You will have to allow for an additional 24 minutes to reach 100% charge. Nevertheless, 80% provides 240 km of range, usually enough to take you to the next rapid charging station.
- expected launch: TBC (currently crowdfunding)
- expected price at launch: €29,900
- has built-in solar panels over most of the body – can charge itself
- the integrated solar panels can generate up to 1.2kW of energy at peak performance (a very sunny day, no shadows)
- under ideal conditions, 112 km on average (up to 245 km max.) additional range per week can be achieved with pure solar energy — CO2 neutral and completely free of charge
- Perfect for a camping trip in sunny regions of the world!
- produced by Valmet – a climate-neutral automaker
- efficient – 16 kWh/100 km (160Wh/km) – about 1.8 l/100km fuel equivalent
- (better than other electric MPVs that average around 2.5 l/100km)
- lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery with a capacity of 54 kWh and is equipped with a liquid cooling system
- 120 kW (163 h.p.) motor
- Open Service System – similar to “open source software” – the car manufacturers plan to publish a detailed manual about the car that everyone will have access to.
- This will make it easier to get it serviced by any car mechanic that takes the time to learn it.
- On top of that, there will be instructional videos for the owners, so that they themselves will be able to replace some spare parts without needing a mechanic or prior knowledge.
- No proprietary technological standards or mechanic certifications also mean that any car service can work on the car.
- Split-folding rear bench seat (60/40)
- an app is planned that will allow you to share your vehicle with others, share your power and detailed information about the vehicle status
How to sleep in the Sion, DIY Conversions & other posts
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Note: The Sion is not yet in production. Individual vehicle specifications may therefore be subject to change prior to the start of production.
Sono Sion boot and exterior dimensions
These are the published values on Sonomotors.com of the prototype – the actual dimensions of the car, once it’s launched, will likely differ. But it’s a good indication of where it’s going.
Video Review by Fullycharged.show
- Average used price, GBP (2015) – I use Carsite.co.uk‘s price aggregates from 2015 (or the nearest possible year if not available), or, if not found, from autoscout24.com. For new cars, I specify the closest possible match (i.e. if released this year, it’s the new price, if released two years ago, it’s the 2-years old price etc). It’s here to give you a benchmark comparison (- a like for like, an apple with an apple) of the value of each car and for filtering purposes. It’s not meant to be used as an accurate estimate of used car value – it is updated once a year, so make sure you know what the car should cost at the time of purchase if you decide to buy one.
- Boot dimensions – taken from various sources across the web, starting with official, supplemented with other reliable websites (like ridc.org.uk), supplemented by user-generated content – images of measurements from forums or social networks. It’s also used for filtering, comparison and to give you a good idea of the car’s suitability for camping.
- Comfort rating – a benchmark used to simplify the car’s comfort & driving score based on equipment, furnishings, handling, safety, and costs ratings from external sources like whatcar.com, carwow.co.uk, autocar.co.uk etc. It gives you an indication of whether the car will drive and feel like a van (low rating) or offer better interior & handling (higher rating). A simple van-like car, for example, a Renault Kangoo is 0.5, a well equipped and comfortable car like a Ford S-Max is a 2. No hard math behind it, just an indicator, f.e. 0.5= basic car that does the job, 1.5 = hey, that’s nice to have!, 2 = oooh, comfyyyy.
- Consumption – I take the average 2017 consumption or closest match from Fuelly.com, or if none is available, from other sources like honestjohn.co.uk. If there are not enough cars for a single year, an average for several years is calculated.
- NimbleCamper rating – a weighted score of boot length (45% weight), boot height (40%), consumption (10%) and comfort (5%). The logic of weighing length & height higher than consumption and comfort is – headroom is important when you sleep in the back of the car, so is the length. A comfy ride is a factor, but you can sleep in a big car that’s not that comfy, however, it’s much harder to camp/sleep in a comfy car that’s too small. Read more about the NimbleCamper rating and criteria here.
- a note for EVs (electric vehicles) – for consumption, I am using the Fuel Equivalent Consumption estimate by ev-database.org. It is usually much lower than combustion engines, giving EVs an advantage – which I think is fair. They do have a small disadvantage in terms of having to plan your trips around charging stations + longer waiting time, but that will get better over time. More charging stations, faster chargers and better batteries. Therefore I am not adjusting the calculation for EVs in any way.
- In short: a litre of petrol contains about 8.9 kWh of energy. If we divide the energy consumption of an EV by this (f.e. 16 kWh/100 km divided by 8.9 kWh/litre), we get equivalent fuel consumption of 1.8 l/100 km.
- EV stats – taken from ev-database.org
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