The German company Sono Motors which makes electric cars with solar panels on the roof saw the bottom of the greenhouse come into view last year. More money had to be put on the table, but the founders were not in the mood for another round of private equity financing. The company therefore opted for crowd funding and with success. The company announced yesterday that it raised more than € 53 million from more than 10,000 people.
The largest part comes from people who have reserved a car (the Sion). That accounts for 75% of the money raised. The remaining 25% comes from private investors (19%) and loans, plus donations (6%).
One of the reservations comes in the name of the Dutch competitor Lightyear, which also makes cars with solar cells. CEO Lex Hoefsloot congratulates Sono Motors on the amount raised. “Doing something that others did not dare to do until now is very difficult and a big challenge,” says Hoefsloot. In his eyes, the fact that he has succeeded in raising the intended amount is “a sign that times are changing.”
Photo: Sono MotorsThis is how co-founder Laurin Hahn of Sono Motors sees it. For Sono Motors, it is the opposite model of large car companies and suppliers such as Siemens, the southern German company that announced earlier this week that it was stepping into a large Australian coal project.
Hahn sees the € 53 million raised as a signal to politicians. “At least we are serious about climate policy,” she said to the FAZ newspaper.
Last December, Hahn announced for the first time that they were disappointed with the classic private equity investors who are only interested in fast money. That’s why Sono Motors tried crowd funding. The goal was to raise € 50 million with the campaign before 31 December 2019, but that didn’t quite work out. The company therefore decided to postpone the deadline by 20 days, which turned out to be sufficient for an amount of time.
Sono Motors wants to start the production of the Sion in 2022. Partners include Nevs, Continental and Elringklinger. There are 13,000 reservations for the car which should cost € 25,500. The long-term goal is to build 260,000 cars in the old Swedish Saab factory within eight years. This has to be done 100% CO2-neutral. As an old hand in the business, Sono Motors has hired Robert Diesel as chief technology officer in 2018. Diesel previously worked for Opel and General Motors, among others. Whether he is a descendant of the famous German engineer Rudolf Diesel is unknown.