Sono Motors plots solar-electric course

Many in the auto industry remember the introduction of BMW’s production i3 as a watershed moment for electric vehicles. Jona Christians remembers feeling underwhelmed.

“It was just not radical enough,” he said.

As a result of that middling impression, Christians cofounded a company and embarked on a plan that’s squarely in radical territory. Sono Motors intends to build perhaps the world’s first solar-electric vehicle, one underpinned by a conventionally charged battery and augmented with solar power. The car, called a Sion, comes with functionality banked in that allows motorists to both share power and vehicles themselves.

Ambition has never been in short supply, and automotive history is replete with examples of startups that never amounted to more than a curiosity. Yet years into its quest to build its Sion vehicle, Sono Motors is not only still around, it’s outlining granular plans for the near future.