Today Munich solar tech company Sono Motors announced the signing of investment agreements with YA II PN, Ltd. ("Yorkville"), which will enable the company to restructure itself, emerge from its self-administration proceedings that have been ongoing since May 2023 and continue its solar integration business until at least the end of 2024.
Sonos Motors was founded in 2016. Its original focus was creating the solar EV Sion, a solar-panelled car retailing at €29,900 — exterior paint is replaced with 248 solar cells on the vehicle's hood, fenders, sides, roof, and rear, adding 112 km of driving range per week to the car's battery.
It was slated to start manufacturing in mid-2023.
Additionally, in July 2022, the company launched the 'Solar Bus Kit' for buses, trucks, and refrigerated vehicles.
It allows subsystems like the HVAC to be partially powered by renewable energy. The Kit can save up to 1,500 litres of diesel and up to 4 tonnes of CO2 per bus per year from the ~1.4 kW peak installation with a total size of about 8 square metres of solar panels.
Bus fleet operators expect a potential payback time of approximately three to four years, depending on days in operation and fuel prices.
But while the company has raised over $126.6 million in funding and had over 22,131 reservations for the Sion, the cost of manufacturing proved challenging.
Despite its additional revenue from the Solar Bus Kit, the company entered self-administration in May this year.
According to Jan Schiermeister, who currently serves as Sono Motors' Head of Technology:
"The last few months have been exhausting for everyone at Sono Motors, but at the same time incredibly instructive.
Now it's time to turn what we've learned into success.
Our experienced team is eager to continue working toward our vision and has surpassed itself and grown even closer together over the last few months. We believe the agreement with Yorkville gives us the opportunity for a promising new start,"
Following the signing of the investor deal, Sono Motors has been able to offer all employees who were given notice at the end of October re-employment, which the majority of the workforce has already accepted.
"I see this great willingness to return as a clear sign of an exceptionally high level of motivation and dedication. These employees are the backbone of Sono Motors and I strongly believe that together we can all emerge stronger from the expected conclusion of the self-administration proceedings," Mr. Schiermeister continued.
The first priority is now the market launch of the Solar Bus Kit. In addition, Sono Motors will continue to drive forward the development and marketing of its unique solar integration technology, which can sustainably power a wide range of vehicle applications, such as refrigerated vehicles, last-mile delivery vans and passenger cars, and thus make a significant contribution to the climate and mobility transition.
Despite the ongoing self-administration proceedings, Sono Motors recently deepened its collaboration with one of the 10 largest vehicle manufacturers in the world by signing a new service agreement.
Since March 2023, the total number of customers and partners for Sono Motors' solar technology has increased from 25 to 28.
Lead image: Sono Motors. Photo: Uncredited.