Founded in 2016 in Munich, Sono Motors had a revolutionary vision to build a solar-powered car, the Sion. In May 2023, the company has just declared insolvency, putting in danger the investments of the pre-orders of the Sion and the shareholders.
One day, a long time ago (in 2016, to be precise), a group of revolutionary optimists based in Munich, Germany, had a brilliant idea: to build a car powered by solar energy.
No, they didn’t have an overflow of solar power they didn’t know what to do with. They just wanted to change the world. Nothing too ambitious, of course. Just make cars that don’t need oil, don’t emit greenhouse gases, and are powered by a natural, clean and renewable energy: the sun. They named their company Sono Motors and their car, the Sion.
Inordinate ambition. Recklessness in the face of the impossible. It was quite commendable, really. But as they say: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And while Sono Motors may have dreamed of sunny skies and endless roads, it instead found itself on a road littered with obstacles and financial pitfalls.
The first customers will never see their money, nor their car
Sono Motors’ big dream began to unravel in early 2023, when the company announced it was ending its solar car project, the Sion. The reasons were many, but lack of funding was the nail in Zion’s coffin. The company laid off 250 employees and announced that it would refocus on selling solar cells for buses, refrigerated trailers and cars from other manufacturers.
Move of mercy ? Sono Motors declared insolvency in May 2023. Yes, you read that right. The company, which just two years earlier, in 2021, was valued at $2.6 billion, is now unable to pay its debts. The fall of Sono Motors has major implications, especially for those who pre-ordered the Sion car. Thousands of people have paid deposits for the vehicle, totaling around 44 million euros. Unfortunately for them, it is now uncertain if they will ever see their money, let alone the car they had hoped to drive.
And what about the shareholders of Sono Motors? They’re in the same boat as the people who pre-ordered the Sion. Sono Motors’ parent company, Sono Group, has also filed for insolvency. This means it loses access to its only operating subsidiary, rendering Sono Group shares nearly worthless. It is a blow to those who had invested in the company in hopes of seeing the Zion become a reality.
The question now is what will happen with Sono Motors. The company has requested a protection procedure, the equivalent of a receivership, and is trying to reorganize. According to Jona Christians, co-founder and CEO of Sono Motors, they’re not ready to throw in the towel just yet. ” Detours are part of building a business she said, adding that they will continue to work to implement durable solutions.
Either way, the fate of Sono Motors serves as a cruel reminder that innovation is not an easy road. It’s a journey full of pitfalls and challenges, and it takes more than good intentions to succeed. It takes solid funding, careful planning, and a healthy dose of realism. A story that reminds us a little of that of the Lightyear 0, the project of which was abandoned after the production of the first production car, to better focus on the Lightyear 2.
It will take time, lots of money, and probably a few more failures before we see solar cars on our roads.
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Source: Frandroid by www.frandroid.com.
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