What’s it all about?
An affordable solar powered car! And so much more. Laurin Hahn is a founder and entrepreneur with a vision to see solar power on every vehicle, as a way to remove reliance on fossil fuels. It’s been an inspiring journey that I have been watching for many years from afar. We also talk about growth, leadership, values and the road from crowdfunding to IPO. And a lot more. I hope you enjoy the episode.
About Laurin Hahn:
Laurin Hahn is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sono Motors. Driven by the ambition of realizing system change, he decided to stop his studies in Electrical Engineering and to fully dedicate to the development of an efficient, affordable electric vehicle, suitable for everyday use and whose battery can be additionally charged by the sun – the Sion.
Based on this project and the vision of a sustainable mobility concept independent of fossil fuels, Sono Motors GmbH was founded in 2016 by Laurin Hahn, Jona Christians, and Navina Pernsteiner. Since 2021, the company has no longer focused solely on the development of the Sion, but has expanded its business field to include the sale and licensing of the company‘s own solar technology. In the same year, Laurin, along with Jona, successfully launched Sono Motors on the US tech exchange Nasdaq under the ticker symbol SEV.
In addition to his role at Sono, Laurin Hahn is also a member of the Entrepreneurs for Future. In 2020, Sono Motors and its founders were awarded as number one of the Most Innovative Start-ups in Mobility by Forbes. He has been selected for Business Punk magazine‘s Watchlist 2022. In the same year, Capital selected Sono Motors as one of Germany‘s most innovative companies. Laurin was also nominated by the German Startups Association as Founder of the Year 2022
About Sono Motors:
Sono Motors (NASDAQ:SEV) is pioneering solar mobility with Sion, the world’s first commercially-available solar-electric passenger vehicle (SEV), as well as a portfolio of integrated solar technologies. Backed by a strong global community, Sono Motors has amassed more than 18,000 reservations for the Sion, which will be commercially available in Europe in 2023. Sono’s licensed solar technology can be seamlessly integrated into a variety of vehicles — including buses, trucks, trailers, and more — to dramatically extend range, reduce fuel costs, and further reduce total carbon footprint
- Laurin Hahn on LinkedIn: Laurin Hahn | LinkedIn
- Sono Motors website: Driven by the Sun | Sono Motors
- Sono Motors on Twitter: Sono Motors (@SonoMotors) / Twitter
- Sono Motors on Instagram: Sono Motors (@sono_motors) • Instagram photos and videos
- Sono Motors on YouTube: Sono Motors – YouTube
- Sono Motors on Linked In: Sono Motors: Overview | LinkedIn
About Hyperion Cleantech Group:
Hyperion Cleantech Group is the holding company for businesses focused exclusively in cleantech talent acquisition, retention, leadership development. working with some of the most innovative cleantech companies in the world, helping to find extraordinary talent to enable their growth and success. Partnering with leading cleantech VCs, as well as directly with founders and entrepreneurs in the sector. With our clients we are transforming business and growing a strong and prosperous cleantech economy. We work across EMEA and NORAM, with teams based in the UK, Germany and the US.
Hyperion Executive Search is a retained search firm operating at Board, NED, C-Suite, VP and Heads of… level www.hyperionsearch.com
Fully Charged Recruitment is a contingent recruitment firm operating in the Mid/Senior level. www.fullychargedrecruitment.com
- Sono Story on YouTube- (German with subtitles- https://youtu.be/coWTfPv_ZWA
- Sono Motors Sion | Fully Charged https://youtu.be/U5LKU6bWScc
- Sapiens A Graphic History, Volume 1: The Birth of Humankind Sapiens A Graphic History, Volume 1: The Birth of Humankind (Sapiens, 1): Amazon.co.uk: Harari, Yuval Noah, Vandermeulen, David, Casanave, Daniel: 9781787332812: Books
- Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness: Amazon.co.uk: Laloux, Frederic: 9782960133509: Books
Follow us online, write a review (please) or subscribe
I’m very keen to hear feedback on the podcast and my guests, and to hear your suggestions for future guests or topics. Contact via the website, or Twitter.
If you do enjoy the podcast, please write a review on iTunes, or your usual podcast platform, and tell your cleantech friends about us. That would be much appreciated.
David Hunt 0:02
Hello, I’m David Hunt CEO and founder of the Hyperion cleantech group and your host for the leading cleantech podcast. Now the world right now is a pretty crazy place, right. And on top of that the energy crisis and inflation, making some pretty strong headwinds. Having spent much of the last week with over 50, clean tech VCs and cvcs, there is a lot of dry powder out there plenty of capital to deploy it to deploy. But maybe raising money will be a little bit harder in the next six months or so. But what we do as a sector is so important, our mission is so critical that I’m optimistic and that we will need to be that we will come through these things. My guest today the brilliant example of a Gary John intrapreneur that has shown massive resilience through tough times and lean finances to end up with a successful IPO and bring in his and his co founders vision to reality. So I’m delighted to welcome Lauren Hahn, CEO and co founder of sono motors to the podcast. So many inspirational lessons and of course, such cool soda technology. I hope you enjoyed the episode.
Hello, Lauren, it’s great to have you on the leaders in clean tech podcast.
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 1:14
Hi, there. Nice to meet you. Finally.
David Hunt 1:16
So listen, your story is great. Now I think we’re almost at 100 episodes, mostly with clean tech entrepreneurs. And I kind of have goosebumps looking at the Sonos story, because I’ve been following for so long. And it’s such a fascinating story. But even more so on the podcast, we like to talk also about the entrepreneur side and the drives and the motivations of the individuals behind companies, as well as the technology which will of course cover but perhaps you can start learning a little bit of your backstory and how you came to create sono motors with with your co founder because unlike many you kind of almost came straight from school into into entrepreneurship. So perhaps you can share a little bit of how that came about.
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 1:58
Yeah, sure. So first of all, thanks, David. And hi everyone listening here. Basically, yeah, we started snowboarders orders integral crash in 2012 2013. With the vision of a world without fossil fuels, that was the reason why we started that was still the main reason why we do it. And our mission is solar on every vehicle. And, yeah, started small in the garage, built the first vehicle and made it until the NASDAQ publicly listed company with several 100 employees. And a very exciting story actually,
David Hunt 2:39
very exciting a lot obviously, between those two milestones starting in a carried through to the IPO, which we’ll try and cover in it in the short time that we have. But again, there’s a lot of sort of, I guess, thoughts around, you know, startups who started in the garage, and often that’s been in the past people like, you know, Steve Jobs with with computers, which is challenging, of course, but you guys bought a car, which you know, that, you know, automotive companies spend billions on bringing cars to to the marketplace. And it’s a supremely challenging journey, which I don’t need to tell you about. So but but that’s a big thing to start on. So what obviously bringing solar to a car, but actually in the garage, building a car pretty much from scratch from just the two of you. How did you? I guess, in the naivety was good at that time, the fact that you know, you don’t know what you don’t know. So what was the kind of the motivation and the belief factor behind saying, well, we can just do this thing, literally in a garage with with with tools in our bare hands?
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 3:33
Well, that’s actually a good question. Well, where we came from the problem, so we came from that site where we said, the world is burning. I mean, it’s so obvious climate change is there, it’s 1.5 degrees. And we said we need to do something there is there’s no way how we can just look away and walk away. We need to do an act. And that was the point where we said we need to look into solution. Let’s talk about solutions. What can we do what we can to young people, without money without knowledge, without, you know, a huge team? What can they do? And we came to that conclusion. Let’s look at fossil fuels. Let’s look how can we get rid of them? What do we need for that and we came to mobility and then we said what does it need and mobility? Well, it needs a vehicle which is really climate friendly, which is really changing mobility as is today, not just a marketing claim. And which is made for the mass market, which is not for a premium product was what’s what’s not a premium product for you know, high paying customers. No, we need products for everyday users for everyday people. And that was the point when we set the scene. Solar vehicle family friendly, below 40,000 years bidirectional charging, sharing software integrated, really think this through and make it really sustainable. That’s where we came from.
David Hunt 5:16
Because at the time 2013, clearly, immobility is nowhere near what it is now with the plethora of vehicles on the road. And I guess at that time, there was, again, a few outliers, maybe the Model S, Tesla was just around about, but again, a very high cost. So the landscape was very different than which again, makes it a very bold move to embark on this journey, when both the electric vehicle market was was hardly established, compared to today. And of course, batteries were far more or not as advanced as they are now. So again, that’s bold to have gone down that route. And how did you go about that in the first, the first iteration of the vehicle, which I guess is in a museum somewhere, but how did you go around building this first iteration of the of the car?
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 6:03
Well, actually, it’s a funny story that the first vehicle was standing now here in the company. But we hide it for years, this vehicle because we were embarrassed by it, because you gotta imagine two young people I couldn’t believe I was 19 years old or something, are going into the garage and building by hand, the first vehicle, this is not looking really good. It was a technology feasibility study. But it was not a design study. So until today, I’m a little embarrassed if someone walks by this vehicle and sees it. But but it was all about doing something taking matters into our own our own hands. Look into the details, look into the technology, does it work, putting solar panels on a car? What does it need actually, to be scaled to be industrialised? And that’s what we learned from the first very first week, it took us way longer than we thought, four years in sort of setup, I think six to 12. month we originally planned. But it was great. It was great, because we learned it by our own hands. Yeah.
David Hunt 7:11
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, solar integration is interesting. Excuse me, I think I mentioned that I started the solar business in 2007. And back then A, the cost was substantially higher, but also the flexibility and that sort of technology had not evolved as much. So how did you go about integrating solar into a vehicle at that time? I mean, we all see camper vans, with literally a solar panel struck to the roof, but this is a different proposition. And also, do you and your co founder have a sort of electrical engineering backgrounds? Or how did you again, address the solar issue, let alone the building of a vehicle?
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 7:44
Well, we came really from the problem statement, the problem of electric vehicles, especially back then being expensive because of the batteries. And we thought about like, what about this? Just, you know, everyday electric vehicle you take to work and back home, you use for commuting? What about this? What does it need, and we came to solo because we said, if we can cover the daily average distance driven of a commuter, this would be amazing. This will be a no brainer, this car would sell like, like hell, because just think about it, a combustion engine car where someone walks by every day, refuelling your car for free. After distance you have driven to work and back home, this would be amazing. This would be a no brainer. So that’s where we came from. That’s why we integrated solar, in that what we have achieved as of today, because our basic number we giving out to the world is it’s 120 kilometres a week on average. We cover with solar, it’s 16 kilometres a day. And here’s the fun fact. 16 kilometres a day is the average distance driven of a commuter in Germany. Yeah, so we reached that goal. And we think this is the most important number of the car itself.
David Hunt 9:13
Yeah, that’s a really interesting thing. Again, there’s so much talk these days, particularly among the naysayers, around range, anxiety, all these things, but you’re exactly right. It’s the same pretty much in the UK, most of Europe, I’m sure. The average community man, the average amount of driving everybody does on a daily basis is sort of 10 to 15 miles or I should say sort of 1010 to 20 kilometres.
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 9:33
Yeah, and the thing is, here’s the thing, the naysayers, they’re right on the point, you cannot go on an autobahn and have more range on that. That’s true day you need fast charging, and desean has it but it’s not about the longest distance driven. That’s not how we use cars. We use actually cars to drive short distances. There’s actually the number and I’m not 100% Sure If it’s right, but 98% of all distance driven are below 50 kilometres. So the vast majority of the users of the car is short distances. And that’s where solar makes sense.
David Hunt 10:14
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. We’re gonna talk more about the car. One I’m interested also in, Lauren is that, as we know, and touched on before, you know, to bring a car to market, traditional automotive, spend billions. There’s you guys in a garage. How did you fund? I kind of know the community model, it’d be interesting to share a little bit how you decided to go that way? And how did you fund those initial iterations of the vehicle? And how did that sort of evolve into the point of going on to NASDAQ?
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 10:43
Well, let me state it was very hard. It was one of the hardest challenges where we almost didn’t make it several times. Okay, so that was the statement before, but now let’s go into details and give you a little history here. We started as two young people, then novena joined, we were free founders, we founded the company. And immediately after founding, we found out no one would give us money, no one from the old economy, the the classical funding way classical investors would give us money. And that was the point when we realised, okay, there’s only one way it’s crowdfunding, there’s just, there’s only one way where we go out to, to the people explain them what we do, explain them the risk we have, but also explaining the vision and chances we have, and to crowdfunding. And that’s what we did, in 2016, launched the first crowdfunding campaign and raised 850,000 euros, which was an incredible amount of money back then, for us. Absolutely, of course, still is today, but was a kickstart, for us to build up a team built the first real prototype, which was not handled by, you know, two young people, but an experienced team. And then, you know, went on with several crowdfunding campaigns had done our first investor, round where then investors jumped on board, because they saw Oh, they are accessed successful over crowdfunding. So this seems to be a market. Let’s give them money. And we continue like that. But it was extremely hard to get funding, we had like, just small amounts there. I believe something like, 2 million here, 3 million here, 5 million here. But you can’t build a car with that amount or any, there’s no chance there’s no, not even a single chance on that. So we then went on, looking back then I think it was 2018 19, something like that. Looking on, you know, big investors within this world, travelled to several places in this world, talk to investors had one investment investor interested, were in deep negotiations, due diligence, over several months of just investors. Cash was running low. And then we had a situation where we had, you know, this investors, basically changing the terms shortly before closing this deal, wanted to take over the company want to, you know, to basically destroy the company, and move to patents away. And, and we said, no, no, we can’t go that way. It would have looked from the outside beautiful, because you could have still tell the story of an successful founder, who made an exit, which is, which is usually the typical picture. People paint after such a accident, which is also the industry telling you is a good goal. But actually it’s not. It’s not because you’re selling your soul. You’re selling your vision in terms of in getting money for that. And that’s, that’s not why we did it. That’s not why we started. And we said, hey, there was a community, they trusted us. They gave us money, because they want to ask to change something for a better to fight climate change. And if we sell it now, we would lose, we would betray ourselves. Yeah. And that was the point when we turned back and said no to the investor and said yes to the community, we went out, made a huge crowdfunding campaign raised 53 million euros and payment commitments within 50 days. Which was incredible. Also very challenging. days where you really wake up in the morning and you think, Oh, I can’t take this anymore. This is so much pressure.
And we made it we made it. We raised that money. And from then on, investors are very interested in us because they thought, if there are people out there giving them 53 million euros in payment commitments. That’s interesting for us from an investor perspective. Yeah. So that was the point, when we were able to raise a Series C, we’ll see CRC with, I think, believe 45 million euros. And then I went on the route for an IPO, selected a banks, selected to syndicate and got a team assembled internally made the decision internally, and went on a route for an IPO, which takes usually a year to prepare everything. And finally, then filed for an IPO in November, and went public on November 27 2000, and 2001, which was an amazing, amazing day, not from this making money perspective. But from this, we made it through this bumpy road, we made it through this very challenging financial market in Europe, for tech companies, especially Korean tech companies, where you don’t have a lot of options where you have so much nicer, so much nice companies who won’t make it because they’re just invested focusing on focusing on software, not on hardware, focusing on fast returns not on long term. And that makes that makes it so incredibly hard to raise money here in Europe. Because because there’s just no financial investors or not enough financial investors, who backing such startups
David Hunt 16:48
to take the big risks. You’re absolutely right. One thing I was interested in, partly, again, just get your thoughts on. I mean, firstly, you’re clear, there’s very strong sense of purpose and mission behind yourself, the founders, the idea, which drove you through these harder times, and equally helped you to bring on board the community of crowd funds. How much I mean, when we take VC money, or there’s always a responsibility that comes with that, of course, but how much more Did you feel that this is kind of folks is savings? This is people’s, you know, I guess they’re sort of pension pots and this kind of thing. So did it feel even more of a pressure to to keep going and succeed? Was that a help or hindrance, the fact that it was a community rather than a bank or a VC that put in that initial money?
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 17:33
I think it’s more of a burden, because it’s more responsibility. You’re generally you’re very thankful for everyone giving you money, but you also know, that’s their savings. That’s their hard earned money. And if they’re putting into your company, 2000 years, that’s a lot to them. Right? Yeah. And so you feel the pressure, you feel the responsibility and going in and out there and telling them, well, we have a problem. Funding is, you know, close to an edge. We need, we need your help. We need again, funding. This was this was a huge thing for us as a founders, right? How would they react ARIA mattresses? What happens if this crowdfunding campaign doesn’t want goes well, and stuff like that? That’s, that’s the questions you ask yourself. And yeah, but it’s a good way. Because then you will usually start to take responsibility, be responsible for your actions. And that’s what I miss from intrapreneurs all around the world, building up a company with fast VC money. And then, you know, Pluit, blowing this company up is the one thing but what we actually need is responsible enterpreneurs who take actions who take the money as it would be their own money. Yeah. And then build up this company in a sustainable way. So it lasts long, and it’s not made for a fast exit. not made for just a fast money, but really changing something to the better.
David Hunt 19:16
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, no, absolutely. It again, on that point of the fundraise before we move on a little bit more to the vehicle and the technology. We all know, I mean, crowdfunding is hard work. An IPO is the circus around an IPO is that times however many 1010 or more so interested to see that neither of you guys had come from like a, you know, a BCG or McKinsey, neither of you would come from one of these big sort of corporate two who have experience of running through sort of big financial funding rounds and stuff. How did you approach and how did you cope with the circus that comes with an IPO?
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 19:51
Well, first of all, I think it was a good thing that we didn’t have this experience and didn’t have the, the, the mindset of say people’s way because that makes us unique that make us to go really outweigh. Then the second thing is we assembled a team who brought this experience in, we got an very experienced, CFO on board, Torsten Keadle, great, great guy who had done you know, several startups, flicks, mobility flicks, bus, the green bus, as you might know, it might taxi, the Taxi app, you might know, and where he really successful funded the startups with several funding rounds, and so on, and so forth, and so on. So that was that was key, and then also having, you know, below the CFO, a very strong funding team, Morris fuller shout out to him, he he was here he was, I think, believed that the 12 employee, the 10th, employee, he went from the seed round to IPO with us, he went through all the hard parts. I don’t know how often he changed the company presentation, you know, change the storyline change the strategy, and how often he reached out to investors out there. Incredible guy. And he he’s now moving on after, I think almost four and a half year, five years now. Because he has basically seen everything. Yeah, but this is this is exactly what you need. You need people in a team who really, really believe in it, make it happen. And and yeah, wouldn’t want to make it want to make it to the finish line.
David Hunt 21:34
Yeah. And that’s really a challenge department, obviously, that’s my world of working with startups to help them find the talent to scale. And that challenge is always there. But in something where typically, everybody knows a vehicle takes a lot of money, everybody knows that, again, I could see that you were crowdfunding and picking up, as you say, millions here and there. That would have been a challenge. Just interested in again, before we again move on to the technology in the vehicle. Aside from fundraising, what were some of the challenges as a sort of a rookie CEO, for yourself in those early years as you scaled the business besides from the fundraising?
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 22:09
Well, there are several challenges, there are personal challenges and and also, of course, company and external challenges. Personally, of course, the challenges is, is always to grow, always to learn, always improve, never stop, never stop learning. And, and that’s very important, because otherwise, at one point in time, you’re not the right CEO anymore for this company. And that might also come in the future. But but it will be, you know, very obvious, if you don’t learn and adapt and, you know, be open for new challenges, you might be not the right CEO for a growth company. Yeah, that’s the first thing. The second thing is and keep your values key pure mindset, you when you start a company, you start with very nice ideals with with very high values and an imperfect world. And then you drive through a very bumpy road all the time. And after a kilometre after two, after 100 kilometres, you start to get ha ha don’t know how to say but a little bit, you know, it starts that you, you, you, you dilute a little bit, you dilute your values a little bit. And that’s very important that you still keep the same. And that’s where yoga comes into play of playing my co founder, who’s so good at looking back at our wellness and saying, what do we need in future who is so strong and keeping the values and reminding us every single day to be thankful to be grateful to to stick to what we have set as our mission as our vision? Yeah. And that’s so good that Jana is here because I think I would have diluted too much without him.
David Hunt 24:17
I guess that’s the great thing about having the right people around you. Of course it’s always nice from to have a co founder or CO founding team. But of course you have a broader community and family around you of course as well. But yeah, it certainly can be challenging at times when when the bank account is running low to compromise a little and people around you who can make you follow the Northstar that you started with.
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 24:41
Yes, exactly. So in the High Times to talk about values just stick to them. That’s easy in the lows into hard times. It’s that’s the challenge to keep the values
David Hunt 24:55
ya know, it’s interesting in my company Hyperion we created a manifesto which we have as posted is on the wall. So it’s ever if anybody ever doubts, what is a good decision to make whatever is never the right thing to be doing, there’s a set of guidelines we will do up together, which is a set of values. And I think most good companies that I speak to many founders, and those that are able to attract good people are ones that are clearly purpose and mission driven. Right
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 25:18
Way. Right. And that’s what we experienced also, with with in our team, I believe, of 350. Peoples. And, and they’re all here because they want to change something, right? I mean, there’s an industry out there, which certainly pays a lot. I think we’re not paying so bad. But if you want to join us, you definitely join us because you want to change something, you want to have an impact. You want to have an purpose, you don’t want to work five, nine to five, you don’t want to, you know, end the week with the thinking of Gosh, this was an exhausting week, and I didn’t even achieve something. No, you want to end the week with. This was an exhausting week, but a achieved a lot. And I am happy that I joined the company, and I am happy that I had an impact.
David Hunt 26:14
Yeah, yeah, that’s critical again, and we know what makes people move roles and what makes people stay. And, of course, money to factor but by no means the most. It’s that sense of purpose and mission and challenge and moving the data forward and being able to go home and tell your friends and family what you’re proud of. Right? These are important factors. Right?
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 26:32
Right. 100%? So also, yeah, shoot up. We need people, we are hiring a lot. We’re growing fast. But whoever he is that and feels connected. Reach out to us check our website, because yeah, we need people, good people to build up this company to make an impact.
David Hunt 26:51
Yeah, no company works without great people. So get back to the car. So where are you at with regards to I guess readiness for the market? I know that there’s also been a very good application of the solar technology into other applications. So perhaps you can share a bit about where people and when people can see the vehicle? And what are the sort of uses that technology you’ve evolved to to bring revenue to the business and again, to solve problems outside of purely a passenger vehicle?
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 27:19
Right? Yeah. Well, let’s start from a, from a from a perspective, on the company itself, we build up on two pillars, right? It’s the b2b solar business, where we licence and sell our technology to other customers, trucks, buses, camper, vans, and so forth and so on. And on the second pillar, we build cars, solar cars, s EVs, solar electric vehicles, first product is to see on family car, below 40,000 years, very good battery range, recharging itself, being family friendly, bidirectional, charging, and sharing integrated. So those are the two pillars. That’s how we build up the company. And let’s dive a little bit deeper into the first pillar, the solid technology itself and how we sell this and listen to this to b2b customers. Maybe
David Hunt 28:25
Yeah, absolutely. Again, it’s a an area which is so obvious, but like many things on the obvious when somebody’s already perhaps done it, or you’ve seen it. So again, we all know how much electricity is consumed by public transit vehicles, and by of course haulage and refrigeration, all these kinds of things. I’ve seen that that’s kind of some of the area that you’re addressing,
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 28:44
right 100%. So, let’s start with the core technology, the core technology is a base product, which is the solar cells, which get pre assembled to then be in a second step injection moulded. So basically put a preassembled base products of solar cells, which are covered into a injection moulding machine, which then injects polymers around it and you can form any given shape and form basically a exterior of a vehicle, right? That’s our core technology which is patented, which is in house and where we think this is the core to put solar on every vehicle. And this this technology has six significant technology edge over all competitors out there, which are using class you usually see class on roofs. You see also class on some vehicles. Yeah, for example, there’s the price to your prayers with a solar roof. So Hyundai, this a Hyundai, ionic five have solar roof and so forth, right. But they’re using class and this is heavy, slow and complex in production. And the price is more expensive. Yeah. And we believe through our polymer solution, we are lighter, faster, leaner and production and more affordable. And the thing is, it’s not only about the solar panel itself, it’s it’s about the whole value chain, we step by step, internally build up. It’s about the solar panels. It’s about the hardware integration. It’s about the poly Apollo power electronics. And it’s about the software. And that combined makes us unique, because it’s, it’s it’s so important of how do you get the power from the sun, through the cells into the battery? And how to how to make this really efficient. And that was the point when we build up the team internally, when we build up knowledge. And then noticed, hey, this is not only interesting for the car itself, but it’s also interesting for trucks, or last mile vehicles, buses, vans, and so on. Yeah. And that’s when we started the second business unit internally. And I think I believe it was end of 2020. So beginning of 21, and started to build up entirely a second business unit, who actually do this as their job to sell it to other b2b customers, right. And all of a sudden, this threat went through the roof. b2b customers approached us. We have as a as of today, I believe it doesn’t, I think it’s 18 current customers, customer arrangements, where we actually work together with them to bring onto their products, solar, onto buses, onto trucks, onto reefer vehicles. And basically became a solar technology supplier,
David Hunt 32:18
right? Yep. Yep. Cool.
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 32:21
So yeah, and doing that gives us a great tailwind here because we we see the potential of putting solar on every vehicle we see the potential of saving co2 even faster than just waiting for one car, which is being launched in 2023 End of 2023. Right, but already bringing this to two buses. It gives you an example here. We brought it to a bus here Munich retrofit solution, where we have a solar kit for buses developed which can be installed on diesel buses, which saves energy of the age back of the electricity consumed and then saves immediately. Fuel just diesel in gives you some numbers here. I think on this MPG bus, you the customer in Munich, we installed I can remember the kilowatt hours we installed. I believe it was 1.5 kilowatt hours installed, which is roughly 4000 tonnes of co2, which is an equivalent to 1700 litres something per year. Right. Yeah, so this is an impact. This is good if you instal it on one small impact if you instal it on 300 business, medium impact if you if you instal this on 40,000 potential buses, which are driving around in Germany right now, this has a huge impact
David Hunt 33:59
in co2 And of course, in costs, which is obviously very important at the moment, given what’s going on in the world. So that that retrofit solution is always a win, because it’s important that we have the quick wins as well as the longer term objectives. Right.
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 34:12
Right. Exactly. I mean, that was also the point where we actually came was actually a good story. There was vestre 2020. I think, when you’re on I went into the mountains and had just, you know, time for us. And we assumed out and said, Did we really achieve something yet that we really save co2 yet? And we had to emit? No, actually not actually not. And that was very depressing. And that was very bad. We said, We need to be faster. We cannot wait for the CEO and until it’s in production, we need to make something out of our technology. And to save co2 Faster, climate change is there. It’s not Waiting, it’s 1.5 degrees, we’re just couple of years away, to not hit this target. And that was the point where we said, let’s do this, the solar business unit, let’s do something out of it. Let’s create product value here. And that’s how we how we how we came back from the mountains and said to the team, let’s do something.
David Hunt 35:24
Now that’s cool to actually say make an impact more quickly utilise the technology in your learnings, to date. And, of course, also bring in some revenues to continue as you as you brought the main vehicle, which, again, we touched on there, as is coming end of 2023 is coming to I guess there’s a lot of the community that invested initially who will be taking orders, but what’s the kind of expectation of your initial run of vehicles? And how is? How is that sort of evolving through to 2023? I guess there’s a lot of final testing in this last year to make sure everything is as it should be.
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 36:00
Yeah, sure. So basically, assuming out here again, this is our second pillar. This is where we, you know, most probably people know us from the car itself soon. And here we come really, from this just perspective of, of making this car really affordable, making it everyday vehicle you can use it looks like a car, it’s a family friendly car, has good battery range, a fast charging can also work without the sun. And having almost I think over 18,000 down payments for this car already shows us. It has a market, there are people waiting around for it’s incredible how how people are excited already today. And now coming to your question. Still, we have a long way to go. Production is hard. Hardware is hard. We are in a good process. We’re in a good stage. We’re building right now to series validation vehicles, which will be presented this summer to the public. These vehicles then going to be crash testers this week, we’re gonna you know, do durability tests, long long run tests, summer winter tests. And we’ll consists predominantly out of Sears, Sears tooling, shear soft tooling. And there you learn a lot, again, makes smaller minor changes to the series, then again, just you know, when you get back from a winter testing and you you get learnings from that. And then you build up. Base, basically, you build up production already today, we are ordering tooling right now. We are ordering machinery right now. We build up the production later this year, beginning of next year. And then you have Dupree serious pressures, one precess, too. And then you go to into SOP start off production, which is just, you know, very tough time, a lot of things go wrong, and you need to go through and manoeuvre through this time, in order to make it.
David Hunt 38:19
These are really challenging times for any vehicle that and it’s expensive, of course, but you learned so much through all of these various, as you said, our hot cold weather, the crash testing, all this kind of stuff, but you need a lot of vehicles to break so to speak, right? Which is expensive, so that it’s good that you’re our guests coming towards the dream of seeing the vehicles on the road in a given number, which is from what you say, obviously, not far away, a lot of it feels like it, I’m sure when you look at everything that needs to be achieved. But in the great scheme of things. It’s it’s coming quickly down the road, and certainly hasn’t watched you guys since 2015. If not, when you first broke cover, I can’t wait to see one in the flesh and two to participate. Just a couple of things because on Saturday, we’re running out of time. So what we will do on the podcast episode, page Lorien is post some links to some videos where people can see the vehicle and I know you’ve been only charged in a couple of other places where people can have a look at the vehicle. Just in terms of a personal perspective, you and your co founder you’ve clearly come from and through a lot of experiences and challenges together. Does it feel like last? Now particularly as you say there’s there is some solutions on the road? If not the sign just yet. Does it feel that you are starting to come to realise your dream? Or does it feel as cathartic as it might be? Having come through all of these experiences?
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 39:46
Well, I must admit my dream is fulfilled when I open up the newspaper one day and we read that we got independent of fossil fuels that we don’t use fossil fuels anymore. Amen. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s basically my dream. And I hope I still still still live. When that happens, I hope really we wake up and everyone is working on towards that, because this is the main driver behind climate change. This is the main driver for injustice for wars around the world of for refugees who need to, you know, leave their country, their beautiful country because others are interested into their resources. Yeah. So I have a strong belief that we can make it I have a strong belief that we can achieve this vision without fossil fuels. But we will have to work very hard towards that goal.
David Hunt 40:51
Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. Likewise, and obviously, you’re preaching to an audience who hopefully shares exactly both your your the thoughts, but more importantly, you can share your optimism too. It’s hard, it’s gonna stay hard. But it’s, it’s achievable because of people like yourself and others who’ve been on this podcast who are making a difference and making products and solutions, which can wean us off of the material business. Sadly, we’re running a little bit short on time, Lauren, one thing that really intrigued me also earlier when you were talking about your growth personally through from from obviously leaving school, building things in the garage to to an IPO, about learning and growing. And I think that’s so fundamentally important to anybody in any career, and particularly in leadership, because the nature of leadership changes over time was was particularly in the last few years with COVID, and all these kinds of things in the remote working on this kind of stuff. How would you go about that, because clearly, you’ve been pretty busy. I mean, I always look for book recommendations, it’d be great if there are any that you have to share, but just generally how you how you go about your own personal growth and development?
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 41:54
Well, I can I can recommend two books. I I really like. The first one is Frederick Laloux, reinventing organisations. This helped me a lot. It’s it’s the concept of a teal organisation. I, you know, self managed, independent organisation, which is not top down. We kind of implemented that at Zorro. And it works great with all the hiccups you have usually. So it’s not like this perfect thing where you say Is this the one and only this is a one or zero thing. But this book inspired us a lot Jana also, and we’re trying to really live up to this book here. So that’s definitely one. And the second one is, I would say, have it sapiens sapiens. You might heard of it, which is covering the history of the homosapien human and how how, how, yeah, how we interact with our planet, and what we do, what we learn and how smart we actually are, how adaptable we are to change it, but also how much we destroy this planet and how much we just try out as features. And that was incredible. Helpful also mean to me understand the bigger picture. And what’s important in life.
David Hunt 43:30
Yeah, it’s quite a moving book, actually, even though it’s kind of not intended to be or it’s not emotional, but just the, for exactly those reasons. You mentioned how tremendously innovative and brilliant the human race can be, but also how destructive and terrible it can be. And we see all of that at the same time, I think of the world at the moment. Right? Exactly. Cool. So thank you. For those who will again, add links to the episode page to those books, if people want to take up the opportunity to to sharing some of that learning. I hope again, just the podcast will share a lot of learning in terms of your journey. And it’s been great to spend some time with you learn. And again, we’ll share the podcast wide and look forward to seeing more and more solar powered vehicles and the further destruction of the fossil fuel economy. And thanks for your your part in that. been great to have you Lauren, thanks very much for your time.
Laurin Hahn – Sono Motors 44:22
Thank you so much. Speak soon. Bye bye.
David Hunt 44:31
Hello, and thanks very much for joining us on the evening clean tech podcast. I hope you’ve enjoyed that episode and appreciate you joining us again, please do subscribe if you haven’t already. And please do share any episodes of particular interest within your community. If you do get an opportunity to write us a review on Apple podcasts or your platform of choice very much appreciated. Hopefully see you on the next episode.