Sony’s electric car dreams will come to life with the help of Honda, with the two Japanese brands to collaborate on a new range of EVs, due from 2025 onwards.
Japanese electronics giant Sony and car maker Honda have signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ (MOI) to establish a new joint-venture company, tasked with developing a new range of electric cars on sale as soon as 2025.
While the memorandum of understanding announced overnight is not a binding agreement, Sony and Honda say the new joint-venture company will be established formally before the end of 2022, ahead of first customer deliveries commencing in 2025.
Exactly what form the joint venture’s first production car will take is unclear, however Sony has previously revealed two electric car concepts, badged the Vision-S 01 and 02 – with road testing of the former occurring in Europe last year.
Sony and Honda’s joint-venture company will plan, design, develop and sell the new electric cars, with the help of each of the two founding partners – however Honda will manufacture the vehicles in its own factories.
Honda will leverage its experience in vehicle development, manufacturing and the after-sales process (servicing and warranty), while Sony will use its “expertise in the development and application of imaging, sensing, telecommunication, network, and entertainment technologies” to develop a “mobility service platform”.
Applications of these “technologies” have been seen in Sony’s past concept cars, through 5G connectivity, bespoke infotainment software, PlayStation gaming capabilities, over-the-air updates, and Level 2+ semi-autonomous driving through lidar and CMOS image sensors.
Sony’s first foray into the automotive world came in 2020, with the reveal of the almost production-ready Vision-S (now Vision-S 01) electric sedan concept – followed by road testing in Graz, Austria the following year, though engineering company Magna-Steyr.
A second electric vehicle concept, the Vision-S 02 large SUV, followed in early 2022, riding on the same bespoke ‘skateboard’ platform as the earlier sedan show car.
Alongside the SUV’s reveal, Sony confirmed plans to establish a new Sony Mobility company between March and May 2022, intended to “explore entry into the EV market” – all while searching for a partner to assist in the development and production of its planned models.
Australian launches for Sony and Honda’s new electric cars are yet to be confirmed.
“Although Sony and Honda are companies that share many historical and cultural similarities, our areas of technological expertise are very different. Therefore, I believe this alliance which brings together the strengths of our two companies offers great possibilities for the future of mobility,” said Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe.
“Through this alliance with Honda, which has accumulated extensive global experience and achievements in the automobile industry over many years … we intend to build on our vision to ‘make the mobility space an emotional one,’ and contribute to the evolution of mobility centered around safety, entertainment and adaptability,” said Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida.