Vehicles | September 27, 2016 9:00 am

Irrational Fear of Getting Stuck in the Middle of Nowhere? Try a Solar-Powered Car.

What's uglier than a Prius and runs on sunlight?

As emissions standards tighten — and the caps continue to melt away like a preoccupied child’s popsicle — electric power is slowly becoming the standard for motorized travel.

But despite the quite granular information available on how far you can travel on a battery pack, going electric also means living with the anxiety that your vehicle will die starving and alone in the middle of nowhere. (Assuming you attempt to drive said car through the middle of nowhere in the first place, which — let’s be honest — is not the brightest thing to do. But we digress.)

Speaking of bright things to do: one German compact EV, Sonos Motors’ Sion commuter, has a brilliant new workaround for those of you worried about your e-car’s limitations come Doomsday. It starts with an “s” and rhymes with “polar synergy.”

Picking up where the OG Fisker Karma and the new Karma Revero left off, Sonos has taken solar-powered automobiles to the next level. The Sion Commuter is integrated with 349 mono-crystalline silicone cells on the roof, bonnet, boot and sides, which its makers claim can shuttle the car about 18.6 miles on an average day. And that’s a conservative estimate — given the right conditions, the manufacturers say the Commuter can manage up to 40.4 solar miles on a good day.

Beyond solar, the Sion is charged like any other standard electric car: via a 14.4 kWh battery with a maximum range of 74 miles or an optional Extender (for a fee) churning out 155 miles per charge. Both can reach an 80% charge in half an hour, and have a top speed of about 87 mph.

And while the jellybean silhouette isn’t much to write home about, the car’s interior has some ingenious bits of technology. Sonos uses moss on the interior as a natural air filter, which regulates humidity without diverting power, and additional perks include a 10” phone-connected wireless touchscreen for climate control and infotainment. And since there’s no transmission eating up space, the car also packs enough room for six cozy passengers.

Currently on Indiegogo, the company has surpassed their goal and are readying the Sion for production. It’s likely to cost around $13,500 for the standard and $18,000 for the Extender, with deliveries due by 2018.

And while obvious drawbacks exist — like bad weather, or parking beneath the shadowy buildings of a metropolis — there are fun perks that counterbalance that: when not in use, the Sion’s battery can be used to power fridges, phones and campsites.

That’s reason enough for us to endorse catching some rays in this little jalopy.

via New Atlas