Elon Musk may soon have some serious competition. Sony and Honda have revealed that they are planning to form a new company to develop and sell electric vehicles together.
The new company, which is expected to be established later this year, will begin sales of its first EV in 2025. Honda will manufacture the first model while Sony will develop the mobility service platform.
“Although Sony and Honda are companies that share many historical and cultural similarities, our areas of technological expertise are very different,” said Toshihiro Mibe, Honda’s director, president, and CEO. “Therefore, I believe this alliance which brings together the strengths of our two companies offers great possibilities for the future of mobility.”
Sony gets into the electric vehicle business
Sony debuted its latest concept EV, the Vision-S 02 SUV, in January at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
According to the tech company, the prototype “accommodates diverse values and lifestyles.” It’s similar in size to the Tesla Model Y and can seat up to seven passengers. The dual-motor powertrain setup delivers all-wheel drive and 536 horsepower. The SUV can reach a top speed of more than 112 mph. Sony has yet to confirm details about the vehicle’s battery size and range.
Considering Sony’s decades of expertise in entertainment, it’s no surprise that visually striking technology is front-and-center. The SUV is equipped with 5G network connectivity, sensors for 360-degree vision around the car, and seat speakers. Its dashboard sports a large, high-definition panoramic screen. There are also screens for rear passengers, who can connect remotely to a PlayStation 5 console at home.
The Vision-S 02 features the same EV/cloud platform as its predecessor, the Vision-S 01, which Sony debuted at CES 2020. It began testing the sedan on public roads in Europe later that year.
The growing electric car market
Automakers like Ford Europe, Honda, and Volvo have all announced ambitious plans for going all-electric. With more than ten million electric cars on the road today, companies are forgoing gas in order to meet the growing demand for emissions-free vehicles.
According to the International Energy Agency, EV sales around the world increased from zero to 10.2 million between 2010 and 2020. Last year alone, 6.4 million EVs were sold, a surge of 26 percent.
Big tech companies like Sony are increasingly venturing into the EV space. Many of them have already been involved in the automotive market in some capacity—creating components like audio systems and console interfaces for EVs Many of the electronics companies also already produce the lithium-ion batteries found in EV vehicles.
One such company is Apple, which has been working on an EV concept since 2014. Rumor has it that the iPhone giant will announce its Apple Car this year with an expected launch by 2025.
In October 2021, technology group Foxconn—which supplies products for Apple and Sony—unveiled three electric vehicle prototypes: a sedan, an SUV, and a bus. Earlier that year, Chinese smartphone producer Xiaomi revealed plans to invest $10 billion over the next decade to manufacture EVs. The company, which registered its own EV division in September 2021, is expected to launch its first model in 2024.