The startup from Munich is facing bankruptcy twice. Nonetheless, the solar car maker Sono Motors made the successful leap on the US stock exchange Nasdaq. Sun cars are outsiders who, according to the expert Dudenhöffer, will never make their way out of their niche.
For the solar car maker Sono Motors, going public was about everything. The startup from Munich recently warned that without the proceeds from the sale of the shares, there was a risk of running out of money in December. With its brilliant start on the US stock exchange Nasdaq, bankruptcy is off the table for the time being, because the company is expected to raise around 135 million dollars by going on the floor. The shares closed on Wednesday with a price increase of 155 percent to 38.20 dollars.
“We are proud of our successful debut on the Nasdaq in New York. This is a milestone for Sono Motors and brings us an important step further towards series production of the Sion,” says founder Laurin Hahn ntv.de. As a listed company, you now have the opportunity to raise the required capital through further financing rounds on the stock market.
The proceeds from the IPO should flow into the completion of the next generation of prototypes. “These prototypes consist of series components that we use for tests, certifications and further testing of our solar technology,” says Hahn.
Sono Motors placed 10 million common shares for $ 15 per share. This corresponds to 15 percent of the company’s shares. The Sono Motors share was traded at prices around 27 dollars after the launch. The start-up would theoretically have a market value of around $ 2 billion. Hahn and the co-founder and CEO Jona Christians continue to hold the majority of the voting rights.
Already 16,000 reservations
The first Sono model with the name “Sion” is to be delivered in 2023 and can not only be charged at the socket, but also via solar cells that are built into the body. ” What really convinces me here about the car is the solar system in combination with electricity, the car simply charges itself when it is parked – when it is stationary. I think that’s absolutely great, it makes me a little more independent, “says an interested buyer, ntv. And he’s not alone: According to the company, there are already a good 16,000 paid reservations.
The startup’s solar car has a total range of 305 kilometers at a top speed of 140 kilometers per hour. The Sion can travel 35 kilometers with pure solar energy. Just enough for stretches in the city. For founder Hahn, price, range and infrastructure are the major hurdles in electromobility. He wants to remove two of the three hurdles by using solar energy. And that is the range and the charging infrastructure. Cost: 28,500 euros.
As early as 2019, the founders were on the verge of having to bury their project. Back then, because an investor jumped out at short notice. According to the founder, he wanted to break up their company. “We had the choice between: Do we accept this offer or do we stick to our values, why we started the whole thing in the first place,” Hahn told ntv at the time. That was an incredibly difficult decision, but in retrospect it was the right one. “We then decided on our values, our path. But that also meant: We have a liquidity bottleneck.”
In an emergency, Sono Motors turned to the community and asked for a further injection of funds. The result: more than 50 million euros in 50 days. A very clear confirmation for Hahn. “So many people who believe in us and are also willing to invest money, although the product is honestly not yet on the market. That strengthened us and showed us: People want Sion, they want change, they want something change, “said Hahn ntv.
Are the costs and benefits in the right relationship?
Despite the support, solar cars are still outsiders. Will that change soon? A plastic body that is fully equipped with 248 solar cells will remain a niche product, according to car expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer from the CAR Center Automotive Research. “Sono Motors is unlikely to become a major player in the car market with its solar car – like Tesla, for example,” he tells ntv.de. In his opinion, the technology could at most be a supplement to the electricity requirements of the electric car. How useful this is will be seen when the vehicles have to assert themselves in the market.
The solar cell is not a breakthrough technology. “Webasto brought sunroofs with solar cells onto the market a few years ago and thus did not have a resounding market success,” says Dudenhöffer. A purely solar car might make sense in the Sahara, but not in our latitudes. According to the auto expert, it will never be possible to drive solely with solar energy in the future. This then raises the question of whether the costs and benefits for the customer are in the right relationship.
At Sono Motors, however, we are optimistic about the future. “Our solar technology was developed in such a way that it can be integrated and licensed in a large number of vehicles,” says Hahn. These also went well beyond the Sion, such as buses, trailers, trucks, campers, trains and boats. By storing additional electricity from solar cells, Sono solar technology also reduces the number of vehicle charging processes and thus significantly lowers operating costs for customers.