Sono Motors’ CEOs and co-founders, Jona Christians and Laurin Hahn announced today that they have failed to raise enough money to continue funding the Sion, a solar-powered electric vehicle. Now, they are turning to the public for support.
In a video, bluntly titled “WE FAILED,” the CEOs explain that their troubles raising money in the current capital markets has led to a financial shortfall mere months after revealing the production version of the vehicle. They say that without further funding, they will be forced to shutter the Sion project and lay off the majority of their employees.
“They are telling us to not build the car, to restructure the company, and to lay off 70 percent of our people,” the company writes on its website. “To refund the Community and to disregard the Sion and our reservation holders. But, for us, this simply can’t be an option. Not without giving our Community the chance to make a move. That’s why we kicked-off this campaign.”
Read: Sono Has Over 20,000 Reservations For The Solar Electric Sion
Sono Motors is embarking on a 50-day reservation campaign, seeking 3,500 additional fully paid reservations for the Sion. Early participants, it says, will get a €3,000 ($3,164 USD at current exchange rates) discount on the vehicle, that has an expected retail price of €25,000 ($26,367 USD).
In addition, it is asking for donations, loans, and any other form of financial support that individuals are willing to give it. If it can raise its funding goal, it says it can “trigger a positive domino effect.” The money, it believes, will be enough to get the electric car on the road.
“Your down payment, which represents both your money and your trust in us, we believe will enable us to continue to find new investors as well as to pay the remaining machinery, tooling and production set-up to achieve the planned pre-series production in 2023 and make it to a high-volume start of production in 2024,” the company writes.
The company believes that 3,500 additional reservations is an achievable target because, In September, it announced that it had received a total of 20,000 reservations for the Sion to date, each with an average down payment of around €2,000 ($2,109 USD).
The Sono Sion is powered by a 54 kWh LFP battery pack and features 456 solar half-cells that are integrated into its bodywork. The automaker says that these can add between 112-245 km (70-152 miles) of range per week, requiring its owners to charge less frequently than other EVs, and saving them money. It is powered by a single electric motor that makes 161 hp (120 kW/163 PS) and 199 (270 Nm) of torque.
What Happens If The Fundraiser Fails?
If it does not achieve its fundraising goal, Sono says that all of the reservations made as part of this drive will be refunded. The company will then be forced to shut down the EV project, and focus instead on its B2B solar panel business, which has driven significant profit for it and is less capital intensive.