A solar-powered saloon car that charges as it drives is being tested in Germany.
Munich-based manufacturer Sono Motors has built the new prototype, dubbed Sion, to help Germany hit its national target of 1 million electric cars on the road by 2020.
Sion has solar cells integrated into its bodywork, with a total of 330 solar cells built into the roof, bonnet and sides of the vehicle.
These enable the vehicle to recharge its battery when sunlight is hitting the solar cells, whether it is on the road, or parked in the sunny spot in a car park.
Sono Motors have also included support for conventional power outlets — so car owners aren’t left stranded on overcast days.
The Sion also features moss integrated into the dashboard to naturally filter out dust particles and regulate the humidity inside the cabin.
The solar panel-packed vehicle is set to launch in Germany in late 2019.
Sono Motors, which was founded in 2016, wants the Sion to be versatile and hopes to allow the car to be charged using solar energy as well as conventional outlets.
The firm has earmarked a 2019 date for mass production at one of its German plants.
Some 5,000 people have already placed orders for the electric vehicle, it claims.
Prices for the Sion are tipped to start from €16,000 ($18,540/£14,320) next year.
The all-electric vehicle will offer a range of around 155 miles (250 km) before the battery depletes completely and it needs to recharge either via solar power or using a wall plug, the company said.
Sion was designed originally as an environmentally conscious car, but will also feature a number of feature designed around comfort to help it compete with other modern vehicles.
‘We have a seat heater, there is air conditioning, there is a large infotainment system where I can also connect my phone interactively, which means I really have a full vehicle which is very simple, has no frills,’ Laurin Hahn, co-founder and chief executive of the startup told Reuters.
Sion also uses moss to ventilate the vehicle.
The Icelandic strain of moss is claimed to have air-cleaning capabilities that can filter dust particles and act as a natural air filter.
Sono Motors says the moss, which is visible on the dashboard to those inside the vehicle, does not need water or other special care to maintain.
The firm originally crowdfunded the project, raising more than $200,000 (£154,000) to build the first prototype vehicle.
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