Solar Mobility Provider Sono Motors and Team Rosberg Engineering (TRE) Partner on Development of Chassis for Solar-Electric Car Sion

  • The novel cooperation includes the development, simulation, and production of a suspension and chassis system for Sono Motors’ electric car Sion.

  • The chassis system is integrated into Sono Motors’ new prototype for the first time.

3rd December 2020 – Solar mobility provider Sono Motors has announced its cooperation with Team Rosberg Engineering (TRE) for chassis development of the Sion. The chassis, including the steering system, is a central aspect of every vehicle, especially when it comes to driving experience and driving safety. In the joint project, both companies join forces throughout the development process, from the design and simulation of components and the manufacturing of a functional prototype chassis to the development of the series chassis system. In particular, the partners focused on the design of a safe and robust subframe, which provides sufficient resistance in the event of a frontal crash while at the same time meeting the installation space requirements of the solar-powered Sion.

Incorporating Racing Engineering Expertise into Innovative Mobility Technology

Founded by Formula One world champion Keke Rosberg, TRE is one of the leading providers in the field of vehicle development and brings many years of experience and expertise from the field of motorsports to the development of passenger vehicles. Sono Motors went for a proven partner when choosing TRE. Already in 2018, TRE was involved in selecting a suitable axle concept for the company’s series vehicle.

For Sono Motors, this cooperation “delivers positive outcomes in several aspects,” says Jona Christians, cofounder and CEO of Sono Motors. “TRE is a leading player in chassis development, incorporating specialist knowledge from racing engineers into passenger-car manufacturing. Furthermore, with a German supplier, we have short delivery distances and short delivery times. Meanwhile, both companies’ visions align to drive sustainable mobility forward.”

Nico Rosberg, shareholder of TRE and son of the founder Keke Rosberg, comments that “as a sustainability entrepreneur, it is a particular concern of mine to contribute our expertise to the development of Sono Motors’ Sion and to further develop the future of alternative mobility concepts.” TRE CEO Eckardt Döhrer adds, “We are pleased that we can contribute our profound know-how and TRE’s more than 20 years of experience in chassis development to the development of the Sion and thus help shape technological progress in future-oriented mobility concepts.”

State of Development

By using efficient manufacturing processes to produce new parts such as subframes, wheel carriers, and stabilizer bars, the prototype parts already largely correspond in their properties and functions to those in the future production vehicle.

In October of this year, the finished parts were transported to the prototype production facility located in Roding. The TRE chassis systems are already installed in the next generation of prototypes of the Sion, which is planned to be launched at the end of the year. The prototype can be used for tuning runs and road tests.

About TRE

TRE GmbH (Team Rosberg Engineering) is a joint venture of IAV GmbH and Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg. TRE has its roots in racing and was spun off from the racing team of the Formula 1 World Champion Keke Rosberg in 1997. The main shareholder IAV GmbH is one of the biggest engineering suppliers with over 8,000 employees.

TRE is highly specialized in chassis development for production and racing vehicles and works as an independent engineering supplier for most of the large OEM's worldwide. TRE’s main competencies include all aspects of vehicle dynamics development with more than 20 years of experience.

In particular, TRE provides a portfolio of complex simulation (axle layout to full vehicle simulation), design of chassis components up to complete rolling chassis, as well as vehicle- and driving dynamics testing. At the expanding headquarters, TRE operates one of the most advanced 7-Post Vertical Dynamic Test Rigs in Europe.

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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 200 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 €100 million through reservations and funding. The company released its first generation Sion prototype in 2017 and has amassed 14,000 reservations with advance payments. In 2018, Sono Motors was recognized as a Solar Impulse Efficient Solution 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 112 km or 70 mi on average (up to 245 km or 152 mi) 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.