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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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Self-Charging Electric Vehicles

There was a thread the other day asking about investments into eco-friendly stocks...

Well I noticed an interesting company going public soon: Sono Motors

They are a German automaker which produces cares with integrated solar panels for self-charging. They are not scheduled to get to true production for a few years, so it is definitely a risky investment, but I felt like the technology was interesting enough to share.

Sono Motors GmbH is a German company working on the development of the electric solar car Sono Sion. A special feature of the vehicle designed by the company is solar cells embedded in the plastic body panels on both the roof and the sides. The electricity generated is fed into the traction battery and is said to be sufficient as an energy source for more than 5,000 kilometers per year. Sono Motors has been licensing this technology for use in buses and trucks since 2021.

It's not obvious that integrated solar panels are great for most use cases. In general it is simpler just to plug in to a clean electricity source and charge over night, but in a lot of urban environments, there is a practicality to having a vehicle which is going to get some of its charge back during the day as it makes its rounds throughout the city. Slow-moving delivery vehicles stuck in traffic, soaking up the sun. That is the idea.

You will never get all your charge from the sun, but you'll get some of it. Think of it a little like a "hybrid" vehicle, but a different kind of hybrid.

Integrated solar panels mean slightly smaller batteries, which is good for the environment.

Will this ever get to market? Who knows!, but it is nice to see more smart people looking for more ways towards a more sustainable future.

Discussion (3)

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Ella (she/her/elle)

I wanted to add to this a resource created by a startup in Rotterdam: Skoon. They started out as a clean battery developer, but realized that distribution and implementation cost are the 2 biggest obstacles to companies switching to clean energy - so they built a platform for battery rentals.

Now they're looking at how software can help generate and manage demand for portable clean energy.

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Oli Guei

The company looks interesting and I think they're aiming for a reasonably priced vehicle which is a good idea IMO.

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Ben Halpern Author

Yeah, definitely. To be realistic, there is a good chance they never fully get to market, especially as a consumer vehicle β€” but if they could get their technology to work well and maybe supply buses to cities, it would be great!