-powered vehicles have been on the minds of many in recent decades. It has become wellknown fact that the carbon-emissions given off by our vehicles are negatively contributing to the environment. In an effort to solve the predicament of needing reliable transportation for all, while also needing to preserve our Earth, both national and international automakers everywhere are making an effort to unite solar power and clean  with the vehicles we drive every day.  

Sono Motors: The Start-Up to Watch 

In light of automaker Saab’s bankruptcy, a German solar vehicle startup known as Sono Motors will be taking over one of Saab’s facilities in order to build . The solar vehicle model is called the Sono Sion and operates through the use of solar panels and a battery that gains its charge from the solar panels.  

The Sono Sion is the first solar-powered vehicle to feature solar panels that are embedded into the body of the car. The solar panels themselves fit seamlessly into the body of the vehicle, without sticking out or needing to be mounted. Other solar-powered vehicles have featured mounted rooftop solar panels, which may be less than appealing for some drivers. The Sono Sion has completely changed the automotive solar energy game by bringing together both ingenuity and aesthetic in one eco-friendly, solar-powered vehicle. 

Production for the solar-powered Sono Sion is set to begin in Sweden in 2020, with gradual delivery of the model in the years to follow. There are not currently plans in place that will bring the Sono Sion to the United States or outside of Sweden, but depending on the demand for solar-powered vehicles in the coming years, it is likely they will eventually expand vehicle production internationally. 

A Rise in Solar and Electric Vehicles 

The 2019 Annual Auto Show was recently held in New York City this month and featured a variety of futuristic-looking solar and electrically powered vehicles. There were automotive dealers like Kia, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Nissan, and Tesla, just to name a few, all of which featured their own unique electrically-powered vehicle designs. As solar-powered assets are becoming increasingly more common, it is no surprise that we are seeing more and more automakers turn to renewable sources for vehicle fuel and function.  

The 2019 New York City Auto Show is just one event in a series of many in recent years that have pointed toward a solar-powered future for our vehicles. Just last year in late November, Los Angeles held their auto show and featured many electric, hybrid, and solar-powered vehicle prototypes, as well. It is clear that there are now several vehicle makers that are now quickly closing in on Tesla’s long-held spotlight in the realm of solar-powered and electric vehicles. 

Volkswagen Making Major Strides 

Last year at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, Volkswagen debuted a concept for a solar-powered van for commercial purposes that operates through the use of a solar roof. While a previous model had been on display in Detroit prior to this release, the earlier model is significantly shorter and does not come with many of the same features inherent in the new design. Volkswagen’s new model is called the I.D. BUZZ CARGO because of the very features it contains compared to its earlier design. The I.D. BUZZ CARGO van not only operates through the use of clean, solar energy, it also includes identification technology for enhanced security, ideal ergonomic seating, and onboard computers that enable drivers to control all parts of their vehicles.  

This year, Volkswagen released another concept design, this time for versatile electric vehicle known as the ID. BUGGY. This particular electrically-powered vehicle is inspired by Volkswagen’s original buggy vehicle design that has been in production for decades. The release of the ID. BUGGY is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated events in both the solar and automotive industries. While Volkswagen has yet to announce a production start date for this particular model, we will likely see a complete prototype sometime this year or in the very near future. 

Resources: 

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/04/20/nevs-will-build-sion-solar-powered-electric-car-at-former-saab-factory-in-sweden/ 

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/saab-trollhattan-factory-sono-motors-sion-electric-car/ 

https://electrek.co/2019/04/17/new-york-auto-show-2019/ 

https://laautoshow.com/vehicle/volkswagen-i-d-buzz-cargo-2/ 

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