The Sion solar car will go into production in 2023

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The large black Sion sedans are covered in 456 solar cells, which allow them to generate enough electricity on average over a week to power the car for 70 miles.

(AFP) — The Sion, a family car for five people entirely covered with solar panels, should enter series production in the second half of 2023, the German start-up developing the vehicle announced on Monday.

After years of development, Sono Motors is now building a fleet of test vehicles before handing over series production to Valmet Automotive, a Finnish company that produces vehicles under contract.

The large black Sion sedans are covered in 456 solar cells, which enable them to generate enough electricity on average over a week to power the car for 112 kilometers (70 miles).

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The car, which has a range of 305 kilometers, is aimed at families as well as car-sharing services.

Sono Motors already has 19,000 reservations for the Sion, with the average advance of 2,225 euros ($2,225) helping fund the development.

The company plans to produce more than 250,000 vehicles over the next seven years for a price of just over 25,000 euros.

Startups and established automakers have begun integrating solar panels on electric vehicles to extend range.

The Lightyear 0 is supposed to start delivering to customers later this year, but only around 1,000 are to be produced at a price of 250,000 euros.

The Spain-based company plans to roll out a mainstream vehicle in 2024-2025.

Californian start-up Aptera hopes to deliver a two-seater three-wheeler next year and has 25,000 orders.

A version of the vehicle with a range of 400 kilometers costs $26,000, while another with a range of 1,600 kilometers costs $46,000.

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