Jona, Laurin and some of the Sono team visited Cologne and Hamburg. With them, they took a lot of updates on the current state of our development. Today they are going to stop in Berlin, which is the third and final stop of this city tour. As always, we were very happy to see you and to listen to your questions, ideas and opinions. Due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic, we were unfortunately only able to welcome a very small number of you on site and have therefore summarized the most important points of the tour below. At the end of the article you will also find a video of our event in Cologne.
With the successful completion of our Community Funding Campaign we had a strong start to 2020 and with your support we have made a big step forward in the development of the Sion. We have been able to start the prototype construction with our partner Roding Automobile on time and it is well under way now. At the same time, the corona pandemic has slowed down many processes in the automotive industry as well as in the financial world. In order to perfectly align the further development of the Sion with these new circumstances, we have adjusted our strategy for the remaining year of 2020.
Full Focus on the Construction of our New Prototypes
By the end of this year, we will present to the world a new generation of Sion prototypes. We recently reported on the production of the prototype at our partner Roding in our blog. The focus for these prototypes will be on the "look & feel" and the driving style, in order to provide you with the best possible feeling for the series vehicle. In this new generation of prototypes, key components, such as the e-drive from our partner Continental, will be integrated. In addition to that we are already in the midst of preparations for the release event.
"For us as a car manufacturer, the visual presentation of progress is tremendously important – to win over investors and generate further reservations. That's why we are concentrating strongly on our prototype program for the remainder of the year. In addition, we will focus on internal testing of key vehicle components and the further development of our unique selling points, such as solar integration and our mobility services," explains our co-founder Jona during our tour. Another test drive tour is also being planned at the moment.
Update on Testing, Solar Integration and Mobility Services
The tests on our benches are already running. There, for example, we are testing the electric motor, the battery, the cooling system and air conditioning as well as the infotainment system, as well as checking how these interact with the other vehicle components. These tests are particularly important with regard to the production vehicle and are already providing us with valuable findings for the series-validation vehicles.
During our city tour, we also presented our latest achievements with regard to our solar integration and mobility services application. In both areas we will provide you with detailed insights and exciting news in the coming weeks and months. Here's a taster: our ViPV team, which is responsible for the solar integration, will produce the tool for the first full-size part of our Solar Integration during the coming weeks. This is just another important milestone in our series development. With this tool we are going to manufacture the front roof, which will be equipped with solar cells like all other body parts of the Sion.
The solar integration is also arousing an increasing amount of interest in the industry. This innovative technology enables solar cells to be integrated into a wide variety of vehicles beyond the Sion, something we are already in initial discussions about.
In addition to this, our mobility services application is constantly being fine-tuned to its final form and functionality. We are currently working on the integration into our prototype, which we will present this year. The focus for now will be on the car sharing function, but also on the so-called ridepooling, a function that allows for taking along additional passengers. Meanwhile, our Energy Services team is working in close coordination with our Mobility Services team on the implementation of the power sharing function, which will later on also be controllable via the app.
Adapted Strategy 2020
On a strategic level, the topic of corona has of course also kept us very busy this year. The pandemic has turned the automotive industry upside down. In order to be able to respond in the best possible way to the effects of the pandemic, such as short-time work at some of our suppliers, and at the same time effectively drive forward further development of the Sion, we have realigned our strategic focus for the remaining year. In order to reduce costs, we had already decided several months ago to reduce the number of our planned prototype vehicles from four to two. Until the end of the year, we will further review and reduce our expenses whilst the markets stabilise and recover from Corona. This will affect particularly cost-intensive items in vehicle development, for instance.
Excluded from this is testing, such as for the validation of our solar integration, as well as the work on the technical test benches. By making these adjustments, we ensure that the money from our community funding campaign is invested responsibly and in a sustainable manner: in the internal development, the prototype programme, the solar integration, the bi-directional charging and in our mobility services.
How Corona will develop remains unknown. We are now entering a consolidation phase, in which we will once again review the status of all areas of our vehicle development in detail, in order to avoid any potential impact on the start of the series production as far as possible, and to be able to start production as planned.
We are also using 2020 for an internal reorientation that will prepare us today for the challenges of the future. The establishment of an organisation with flat structures with a rapidly growing team has been well under way since the beginning of this year. Our goal: to further promote agility and flexibility in Sono Motors through self-organized teams.
Sono Advisory Board
We have also decided to create an advisory board. Our aim is to bring together industry experts, who will advise Sono Motors on future strategic decisions. One seat will be allocated to a community member – because your voice counts. In the coming weeks, we will explain how you can apply for a seat on the advisory board. We are still in the middle of the preparations, but we couldn’t wait to share this news with you.
Our excitement is growing, as the release of our new vehicles gets closer. We will hopefully be able to meet many of you again in person, and we hope you are just as excited about the new prototypes and looking forward to them just as much as we are.