Sono Motors and MAN Truck & Bus Want to Jointly Analyze Applications of Solar Technology in Commercial Vehicles

  • Electric transporter collects additional electricity through solar energy

  • Sono Solar technology is lightweight, robust and can be flexibly adapted to vehicle geometries

  • Commercial vehicles well-suited for photovoltaic integration thanks to large areas

Munich, 7 May 2021 – MAN Truck & Bus and Sono Motors have signed a Letter of Intent. The two companies have agreed to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of integrating the Sono Solar technology into MAN’s eTGE electric transporter.

"It is a great opportunity for Sono Motors to team up with such a respected industry partner as MAN and to work together for a more sustainable future. Our Sono Solar technology offers a lightweight and adaptable platform that is ideal for light commercial vehicles such as MAN's battery-powered eTGE," says Jona Christians, co-founder and CEO of Sono Motors. "We look forward to all the opportunities that these two sustainable technologies can bring together."

Three applications are to be equipped with Sono Solar technology and investigated by the companies:  

MAN eTGE panel van

MAN eTGE combi with a powerful on-roof air conditioning system

MAN eTGE with a refrigeration system

For all three concepts, the focus is either on additional range to be  achieved or on a self-sufficient supply of auxiliary users, e.g the air conditioning system, through the acquired solar energy. 

Dennis Affeld, Senior Vice President & Head of Sales Truck & Van at MAN Truck & Bus, is pleased with the partnership with Sono Motors, which is now underway. "We will pool our joint know-how and expertise to test various prototypes with vehicle-integrated photovoltaic technology. The aim is to find out how much energy can be gained from PV technology over the year. Using this insight, we can then assess whether the technology pays off for our customers and at the same time helps to protect the environment."

The eTGE is MAN's answer for urban and regional operations. It does not cause on-site emissions and is significantly quieter in operation compared to an internal combustion engine drive. Depending on the annual mileage, the eTGE can be operated more economically than a comparable diesel TGE: after about four years, it pays for itself. 
Sono Solar technology offers a lightweight, robust and cost-effective solar solution that can adapt to a range of complex geometries thanks to its polymer-based design. Due to the larger surface area compared to passenger cars on vehicles such as trucks, vans or buses, the panels are particularly suitable for commercial applications, like Last-Mile-Delivery. The vehicle-integrated photovoltaic solutions (ViPV) are not, however, intended to replace existing energy storage systems such as batteries or fuel cells. They can reduce energy requirements and the number of charging intervals required, thus extending the range. Furthermore, it is conceivable that the solar energy obtained will be utilised for auxiliary users such as heating, air conditioning or refrigeration units.

About MAN

MAN Truck & Bus is one of Europe's leading commercial vehicle manufacturers and providers of transport solutions with annual sales of more than €9.5 billion (2020). Their product portfolio includes vans, trucks, buses, diesel and gas engines as well as services related to passenger transport and freight transport. MAN Truck & Bus is a TRATON SE company.


For press inquiries please contact Jutta Frisch. 
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Sono Motors is on a mission to enable a revolutionary mobility system, where every electric vehicle is solar, shared, and independent from fossil-fuels. Today, an experienced specialist team is developing a forward-looking electric car that is suitable for daily use, the Sion. Both the Sion’s integrated solar technology and innovative mobility services will enable users to access clean mobility, harness solar energy and reduce CO2 impacts. 

Sono Motors was founded in 2016 and has rapidly grown to more than 140 employees today. The team combines a range of burgeoning global talent with industry veterans, including former employees from BMW, Nissan, Chrysler, Daimler, Audi, Mozilla, Sixt, FlixBus and mytaxi. Since its foundation, the company has raised approximately € 100M through reservations and funding. The company released its first generation Sion prototype in 2017 and has amassed 13,000 reservations with advance payments. In 2018, Sono Motors was recognized as a Solar Impulse Foundation by the Solar Impulse Foundation. In January of 2020, Sono Motors successfully closed one of the largest community crowdfunding campaigns in Europe.

Sono Motors’ Sion intends to blend disruptive technology with affordability to enable individual contribution to global sustainability. The Sono solar technology replaces traditional paint with proprietary integrated solar panels that can form to various applications. Additionally, the Sion’s solar panels can add up to 245 km or 152 mi (112 km or 70mi on average) of additional driving range per week to the car’s battery. The Sion is expected to have the lowest TCO (total cost of ownership) in its category at the start of production, which is scheduled for the first half of 2023.