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German Startup Sono Motors to Use Old Saab Factory to Build EVs

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【Summary】Startup Sono Motors and National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) are working together to build solar-powered electric car’s in Saab’s old factory in Trollhattan, Sweden.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Apr 25, 2019 6:00 AM PT
German Startup Sono Motors to Use Old Saab Factory to Build EVs

Startups, especially those looking to compete with large automakers in a blooming segment, are spending every penny they have on designing and manufacturing their electric vehicles. With more money flowing out than coming in, it's important for startups to save money wherever they can. German startup Sono Motors is looking to a former automaker's old factory to build its vehicles in a way to save money.

Sono Motors To Use Old Saab Plant

In a report, Automotive News Europe claims that German startup Sono Motors is partnering with National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) to manufacture the brand's Sion electric car at Saab's old plant in Trollhattan, Sweden. Despite being a factory that built Saabs, which were all powered by gasoline, Sono Motors and NEVS have made some slight changes to the facility to develop a new production line to make it easier to manufacture the EV. Since the brand's electric cars use black polymer for the outer body, there's no need for stamping tools or paint shop, which not only simplifies the manufacturing process, but also saves energy.

As part of the partnership, NEVs will build a total of 260,000 electric vehicles at the facility between an eight-year span that covers 2020 to 2028. In regard to the Sion, production of the five-door hatchback will begin next year and account for 43,000 units built a year.

A Forward-Thinking EV

The Sion's most innovative feature is its solar cells that are built directly onto the vehicle's panels. The solar panels, which are throughout the entire body – not just on the hood as we've seen on other vehicles – can help the battery gain 21.1 miles of juice on a sunny day, which is pretty good for not having to do anything but ensure that the car's not parked under a tree. Other specs for the Sion include a 35-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor that pumps out 163 horsepower. On Europe's WLTP test, the vehicle has a range of 158 miles (255 kilometers).

For a startup, the partnership with NEVS makes plenty of sense. Sono Motors developed the vehicle, but since it didn't have a facility, it teamed up with NEVS and passed the manufacturing part of the process to the company. In keeping with the trend of making vehicles that use more renewable sources of energy, the facility will also be powered by 100% renewable energy. So, by the sounds of things, it looks like Sono Motors and NEVS' partnership is a great match.

The Sion will be an affordable electric vehicle, as the report claims the hatchback will start at 25,500 euros, which is roughly $29,000. The company already has 9,800 preorders for the vehicle, so things are off to a good start.

"Sharing the same vision makes this partnership so unique," said Sono Motors in a post on its website. "NEVS offers many years of experience in automotive development and production combined with proven expertise in the field of electromobility."

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