Another day, another solar EV car startup in dire straits, but this one is getting creative when it comes to raising funds.
Sono Motors is a German automotive startup founded in 2016 by three friends who wanted to bring a mid-size solar EV crossover to the market. The company's Sion had a lucrative price point of about $29,900, a range of 305 km (189 miles) and was scheduled to begin sales in Europe later this year – the U.S. is not on the roadmap. Well, right now, the company is fighting for its life and trying to stay afloat using a crowdfunding-style campaign that asks people to pay upfront or, just give what they can.
The campaign, which started December 8, 2022, is running similar to a Kickstarter effort, backers will only be charged if the company hits its goal, and it has tiers, everything from a donation to help save solar cars to pre-paying for the car at a bit of a discount (saving about $2,000). On the #savesion page, the company pleads, “The future is worth fighting for.”
On January 26, 2023, Sono Motors extended the #savesion campaign until February 28, 2023, because talks with potential investors have been promising. As of this story, the campaign has 22 days, 3 hours, 10 minutes and 19 seconds remaining, and has raised €48,919,888 ($52,486,637.03). The company’s goal is €104,650,000 ($112,259,101.50).
Co-founder Jona Christians says, “Change is always possible if we take matters into our own hands.” So far, more than 8,600 people have joined the cause.
The effort may sound risky, but the company hopes the numbers will sway investors. The company has more than 44,000 total reservations, 3,500 fully paid, more than 21,000 private reservations with deposits and some 22,000 non-binding B2B pre-orders. The reservations and pre-orders are the equivalent to a net sales of about €1 billion, if every sale went through.
Pre-series production is planned for this summer. And while the effort seems a little desperate, the team is passionate about keeping Sono alive and hoping to build a small army of backers to push the project through the finish line.