Honda and tech giant Sony have “agreed to deepen discussion and exploration of forming a strategic alliance that aims to create a new era of mobility and mobility services”. Which basically means that, if all goes well and a deal is formalized, a joint collaboration between the two could lead to the introduction of a brand-new electric vehicle by 2025.
In one of the most legally vague press releases in recent memory, Sony and Honda have signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ that will lead to the creation of this joint-venture – referred to simply as ‘New Company’ for now – at some point in 2022. An alliance that “offers great possibilities for the future of mobility,” according to Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe.
Thereafter, the New Company will combine Honda’s motoring expertise with Sony’s telecommunication and entertainment technology prowess to introduce “a new generation of mobility and services.” The showcase of this new generation, a brand new EV, is scheduled to launch in 2025 with sales beginning shortly afterwards.
Interestingly, while the New Company will be responsible for the planning, designing, developing and sales of the new EV, Honda will be responsible for the manufacture at one of its existing facilities, while Sony takes care of the digital services side of things.
“Sony’s Purpose is to ‘fill the world with emotion through the power of creativity and technology’,” Sony Group president and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida explains in an official statement. “Through this alliance with Honda, which has accumulated extensive global experience and achievements in the automobile industry over many years and continues to make revolutionary advancements in this field, 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.”
This announcement follows the unveiling of Sony’s Vision S 02 concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The seven-seat, pure-electric SUV measured a whopping 4.85 metres in length and featured two electric motors, one for each axle, that produced a combined 536 hp. Though the battery size and recharging capabilities / times were not outlined, Sony did confirm the 02 would hit 100 km/h from standstill in “less than five seconds.” Unsurprisingly, the interior design was very ‘Sony’, featuring as it did a full-length, high-definition screen across the dash, individual screens in the front headrests, and a rotary dial that allows third row occupants access to the vehicle’s infotainment system.
The Vision S 02 was the second EV concept unveiled by Sony following the Tesla Model Y-rivalling ‘Vision S’ saloon revealed at CES in 2020. At the time, Sony insisted the concept – built by Magna Steyr in Austria – was simply a testbed for its 5G vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity. The recent 02 though sits on the same EV-dedicated chassis as its predecessor, and development of the concept has continued in both Europe and Japan in the interim two years as Sony looks to introduce ‘Sony Mobility Inc.’ as an electric car brand.