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Honda-Sony JV a subscription-based EV

Pay-to-play model to include new entertainment and autonomous features, says report

17 Oct 2022

THE first electric vehicle to come from the joint venture between Honda and Sony will be a subscription-based model to be sold online in the United States and Japan from 2026.


The premium model, which will offer Sony-developed software that will “open the way to recurring revenue from entertainment and other services that would be billed monthly” the companies said.


It is the first time an update from the joint venture has been announced since the two companies launched the project in June, but so far key details including pricing, battery range and even the platform for the new vehicle have not been provided.


It is understood the small-segment vehicle will offer several cloud-based services that will interconnect with various entertainment and payment systems, similar to those already offered by rivals including Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and Toyota.


A report published by Reuters this week also suggests the Honda-Sony model will feature Level 3 ready autonomous driving features that will allow drivers to “pay more attention to the content and software services that will be offered” in the car.


“As safe driving technology will continue to evolve, and the amount of concentration required to drive will be reduced, we should consider new ways to enjoy and spend time in the cabin as a whole,” said Sony Honda Mobility president Izumi Kawanishi.


According to Mr Kawanishi, Honda will decide on the platform the new vehicle will utilise as well as details including the battery supplier. It is tipped that the yet unnamed EV will be manufacturer by Honda in the United States.


Senior Honda executive and joint venture chairman and CEO, Yasuhide Mizuno, said the project was important for Honda as it seeks to develop a “longer-term relationship” with its customers.


Mr Mizuno said Honda believed that 2025 would be a “crucial year” in the shift towards electric vehicles within the United States and that the joint venture with Sony had to “hit that opening”, even if it now means a compressed development cycle for the future model.


According to Sony Honda Mobility, the EV will be available in the Japanese market by the second half of 2026 with order books to be opened from 2025. The JV is also understood to be considering a model launch in Europe but has yet to include Australia within its plans.


Early reports suggest the first Sony Honda Mobility model will feature technologies such as 5G capability for remote operation, vehicle-to-vehicle communication and rapid over-the-air updates, lip-reading technology to enable more accurate voice commands, in-car cameras to monitor passenger comfort, and Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities supported by more than 40 sensors.


The model will also feature a full-width high-definition display instead of a conventional dashboard fascia, headrest screens for second-row passengers and a rotary controller that would allow third-row passengers to control audio or multimedia functions.


with Reuters


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