Written by Theo Koenig – February 04, 2021
Reviewed by Asaf Kedem
At this year’s virtual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2021 event, Sono Motors and EasyMile announced a joint venture. Together, these two companies will be equipping the EZ10 shuttle bus provided by EasyMile with solar panel technologies provided by Sono Motors.
Since writing about EasyMile last year, their fully driverless bus EZ10 has become the most deployed autonomous shuttle in the world. The 100% electric shuttle runs at Level 4 autonomy, meaning the vehicle is fully autonomous, but only within a known area. The large surface area of the EZ10s make them ideal for integrating flexible solar panels. The new technology is not designed to replace traditional charging stations, but instead reduce the charging intervals.
We last wrote about the Munich-based start-up Sono Motors in July of last year. Their patented solar technology modifies a vehicle’s exterior by installing solar cells integrated into flexible polymers instead of glass. This makes it lighter, robust, cheaper and more efficient than competing technology. The company has announced their intention to license the technology to further companies. Along with this, Sono Motors unveiled in 2017 the Sion electric vehicle, equipped with solar cells integrated into the body of the car.
Auto Trendy’s take:
A joint venture offers both companies the option to diversify and expand in a win-win scenario. EasyMile will hope to get an improved product by implementing the panels into their autonomous vehicles while Sono stands to begin launching licensing agreements for its technology. Both start-ups are in a stronger position through this venture than they were at the same time last year when we originally wrote about them.