It was a sad day for automotive enthusiasts when beloved Swedish car maker Saab closed its doors in 2012. However, its old factory in Trollhättan, Sweden will get new life from German startup, Sono Motors and National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) to build solar-powered electric vehicle.
- A former Saab factory in Sweden will be reopened to produce EVs
- The venture is a partnership between Sonos Motors and National Electric Vehicle Sweden
- The Sono Sion will be the first production EV to use solar panels to add range
- The Sion will sell for $28,500
NEVS is a holding company that acquired Saab’s assets after the Swedish automaker went into bankruptcy. It’s exciting to see a new generation of vehicles being built by Sono Motors at that factory. The plan is for NEVS to produce around 260,000 cars at the factory between 2020 and 2028. After a production ramp-up period, the goal is to build 43,000 cars per year.
The factory will produce the Sono Sion, an all-electric hatchback which has solar panels on the roof so it can charge during sunny days. It’s a nice idea, but in practice the panels won’t create much energy. It will be enough to run the A/C unit and add an extra 10 miles of range.
The Sion is equipped with a 35-kilowatt lithium-ion battery pack and a 163 horsepower electric drive motor which gives it 158 miles of driving range under Europe’s WLTP economy standard. This will be the first practical use of solar panels on electric vehicles and while they won’t add a ton of range, it’s still a unique concept to put in practice. Plus as solar technology advances, it will become even more useful.
The partnership between Sono Motors and NEVS makes a lot of sense. It’s the perfect combination of backing from a large group (NEVS) and a solid business plan from Sono. While Sono Motors developed the vehicle, NEVS will handle production.
The company says production at the plant will be powered by 100% renewable energy, a tremendous win for the former Trollhättan Saab factory as innovation will live on in a small part of Saab history.
The Sono Sion will cost around $28,500 USD when it goes on sale, which is a good value considering the range and innovation this vehicle offers the everyday consumer. Sono Motors says it already has about 9,800 preorders for the model, confirming shoppers are interested in vehicles like this.
While Saab is gone, for now, it’s exciting to see the revitalization of their former factory. It’s a win for innovation and for the community of Trollhättan which will benefit from new jobs and continued interest in automotive manufacturing.