This $25,000 Solar-Powered EV Already Has More Than 40,000 Potential Buyers

In an exciting development for electric vehicles and the future of motoring, Sono Motors is looking to bring the Sion, a 5-seat, $25,000 solar-powered EV (SEV), to the United States. One of the first truly practical SEVs to hit the streets, the Sion is already putting up numbers among American motorists, with over 40,000 down payments and preorders so far (via Sono).

Sono Motors generated all this interest through a cross-country tour. Hitting New York, Detroit, Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles, staging presentations, and doing ridealongs with dignitaries along the way. Per Laurin Hahn, Sono co-founder and CEO, the goal of the tour was "not only to demonstrate solar mobility to Americans but to listen to concerns, benchmark interest, build relationships, and refine our strategy for a potential U.S. market entry in the mid-term future."

Toward that end, Sono has gone heavy on attention-grabbing presentation, even snagging actor Whoopi Goldberg for a ride-along. That said, the media blitz might be based on meaningful change.

Will SEVs finally see daylight?

Sono is based in Germany and expects to produce the Sion in Finland. Thus far, however, the company has engaged global interest in the SEV. Sono reports 20,000 reservations with down payments from private buyers in the US along with a further 22,000 pre-orders from American businesses. Combined with European interest, Sono will collaborate with Finland-based Valmet Automotive to manufacture the Sion and hopes to build 257,000 of the SEV over the next seven years.

All of the above is conditional, of course. Expressions of interest are not guaranteed purchases. Jaguar could tell Sono sad stories about what happens when manufacturers treat pre-orders and down payments as guaranteed sales. As New Atlas reports, Sono has already had some bumps on the road, including a falling-out with investors that led to a successful crowdfunding campaign. Sono also changed manufacturing partners over financial disagreements (per Electrive).

That said, Sono has exciting ideas. They're even pitching the possibility of scaling their tech up to run buses. If that's achievable -– which is a fair-sized "if" –- Sono and the Sion could be a major part of the automotive future.