The 50 million euros are there. But the startup needs a lot more money.

It is the most exciting crowdfunding campaign in recent years that the Munich startup Sono Motors has put in: Because an urgently needed round of financing failed, the company of the two founders Jona Christians and Laurin Hahn turned to the public in early December 2019, with one Cry for help of a special kind: You have to collect 50 million euros from crowd investors to be able to produce the Sion electric car. Interested parties can contribute to the campaign with donations of money, advance payments for cars in advance and loans with interest.

“We made it,” the company tweeted on Saturday evening. Yes, the 50 million euros actually came together – incidentally, with the active support of the existing investors, who added another ten million euros during the campaign. The campaign is still running for two days, in which supporters can donate from small amounts of 25 euros. The campaign for the Sion solar electric car is already among the 20 largest crowdfunding campaigns in the world. Whether the 50 million will actually go to the company account depends on whether the pre-orderers will transfer the full amounts for the cars (25,500 euros) in the next few weeks.

Electric car for 25,500 euros

According to planning, the production of the electric car with solar panels on the roof, on the hood and on the sides should now start in 2022 – at the National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) plant in Trollhättan. In the former Saab plant, only renewable energy sources are to be reproduced – just as it should be for an electric car designed for sustainability (reindeer moss in the armature should filter the air!). Production should have started at the end of 2019.

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Those supporters who pre-ordered the Sion have to pay 25,500 euros to get the car. Its specifications are not necessarily spectacular: the solar panels can achieve up to 34 kilometers of additional range per day through pure solar energy. The battery of the Sion has a capacity of 35 kWh and enables a range of 255 km according to the WLTP standard. There is a 10-inch display inside.

The planned Sion from Sono Motors. © Sono Motors

What happens to the money?

When the investors and supporters get their money or their car is still quite unclear. Because the 50 million are only the first step to a successful company. The startup needs another 200 million euros, as the founders told Edison. 70 million of these are financed through bank loans (plant financing), further money is hoped for from trading in CO2 certificates in the European network, and furthermore, one now wants to attract further investors.

“Once the campaign target of 50 million euros has been reached, 205 million euros are still required before production starts,” says Sono Motors. The construction of the production itself should cost EUR 75.2 million, the tooling EUR 64.6 million and the validation and development of the entire vehicle EUR 49.1 million.

Jona Christians and Laurin Hahn, the founders of Sono Motors. © Sono Motors.
Jona Christians and Laurin Hahn, the founders of Sono Motors. © Sono Motors.

Supporters involved in the profit

So far, Sono Motors has carried out several crowd campaigns and brought investors such as the German investment company WiVenture and the German family office ELFH Holding on board. The value of the company on paper is around 110 million euros, the community pool corresponds to a theoretical value of around 70 million euros. In the future, the participants in the campaign will participate in profit distributions from the company.

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“Specifically, this means that all Sion reservations will share in Sono Motors’ future profits (dividends),” says the Sono management. “If Sono Motors decides to go public (partial sale by founder) or will be sold, you will receive a share of the sales proceeds according to your Sono points.” Sono points are distributed to those who have already pre-ordered a car or who are in the Zug supported the crowd campaign with a subordinated loan.

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