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Honda, Sony confirm EV joint venture

Bigger range: If the Sony Vision-S 02 concept is any guide Sony Honda Mobility will offer more high-tech premium vehicles than Honda itself.

First vehicle from Sony Honda Mobility expected to go on sale within three years


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21 Jun 2022

HONDA Motor CO and electronics manufacturer Sony, have confirmed they are going ahead with a joint venture to produce “high value-added battery electric vehicles”, with the first car planned to go on sale in 2025.


Called Sony Honda Mobility and an extension of Sony Mobility Inc, the partnership between the iconic Japanese brands will see Honda contribute its vehicle production expertise with Sony providing digital services for a new ‘mobility service platform’ that is likely to include the development of new infotainment, telecommunications and autonomous driving systems.  


As reported in GoAuto in March 2022, the new JV will plan, design, develop and sell battery electric vehicles, which will be initially produced alongside Honda models.  


The formation of Sony Honda Mobility comes in the wake of Sony declaring its interest in entering the EV market with its Tesla-baiting Vision S battery-electric sedan concept at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, followed by the Vision S-02 large SUV at the 2022 event.


While Sony insisted its concepts were showcases and testbeds for its sensor and 5G vehicle-to-vehicle technology, they were driveable, with the body and battery-electric drivetrain provided by Austrian contract vehicle manufacturer Magna Steyr, which builds EVs such as Jaguar’s I-Pace and the new Fisker Ocean that shares underpinnings with the Vision S concepts.


There is no word on whether Magna Steyr will contribute to the new vehicles’ hardware or if that will be solely up to Honda.


As for Honda, the JV allows it to expedite its relatively slow progress with EV manufacturing and makes good on its pledge to position itself in the rapidly changing automotive industry by forming new partnerships with technology companies outside the automotive sector.


On announcing the confirmation of the JV, Honda director, president, representative executive officer and CEO Toshihiro Mibe said: “We are very pleased to have signed a joint venture agreement with Sony, which has strengths in advanced digital technology, and shares our desire to take on new challenges.”


His counterpart at Sony, Kenichiro Yoshida, also expressed his excitement and added: “Going forward, we aim to contribute to the evolution of mobility by combining Honda’s cutting-edge environmental and safety technologies, mobility development capabilities, vehicle body manufacturing technology and after-sales service management experience, with our expertise in imaging, sensing, telecommunication, network and entertainment technologies.”


If the Vision-S 02 is any guide, the first Sony Honda Mobility products to roll off the production line in 2025 will feature technology 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 2+ autonomous driving capabilities supported by more than 40 sensors.


The Vision-S 02 also featured 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.

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