Image: Sion Motors

If you’re looking for ultimate practicality in your electric vehicles, you can always trust the Germans to take things a step further. Sono Motors has apparently been around as a crowd-funded project since 2012, when the founders of the company were still in school. The first few prototypes are now touring Europe with a few really cool party pieces to make it a bit different from all of the other EVs you’ve seen.

For one thing, it’s got quite obvious solar panels on all flat surfaces of the car. This allows you to re-charge some of the mileage used to get, for example, to work in the morning. If the car sits out in the sun all day while you’re at work, you’ll regenerate about 30 kilometers of range completely free of [pun intended] charge.

For another, the layout is quite practical. With all passenger seats individually flat-folding, you can lay everything down but the driver to make an interestingly useful load floor. Similarly, Sion has added a tow hitch to the back of the car that can haul a small trailer, which is quite common on European roads.

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And the final really cool thing is the ability of the car to act as a power supply for anything you can plug into it. There is a standard socket plug in the front of the car, so if you’re on a remote jobsite and need to run a power supply, this car allows you to do that.

With an aluminum structure and carbon fiber panels being used for the final production spec, Sono says the car will weigh about 3000 pounds total.

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They really had me hooked until Fabian said “Sono Motors is more a movement than a company.” That’s bullshit, just for starters.

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That said, I could easily see some of these ideas coming to production spec EVs in the future, however. And I could see Sono being purchased by a larger automaker for quite a decent chunk of money, which is likely the aim of the founders.

The final design of the car hasn’t been figured out, as they’re still not sure if it will be a front drive front motor car or a rear drive rear motor car. As a result, power figures and range figures aren’t solid either. Sono claims the car will have 250 kilometers of range, and cost somewhere around 16,000 Euros. The battery is, of course, not included in that price, and will be available for an additional lease or rental agreement.

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Will it ever happen, or is this just more vaporware? It’s a creative and forward thinking use of EV tech, and I quite like the idea of a practical electric European city car. And while it is ugly, it’s ugly in a quirky way, like a Smart ForFour or something.