- Honda and Sony will build and sell electric vehicles.
- Honda brings the car-building expertise.
- Sony supplies the mobility service platform.
- Enter the era of the car as nothing more than an electronic device.
Honda and Sony are partnering up to plan, design, develop and build electric vehicles and mobility services. The auto manufacturing and consumer electronics giants have signed a memorandum of understanding, and by the end of 2022 expect to launch a new company for these purposes. Honda and Sony leaders say the first products and services will be available in 2025, rolling out to Japan, Europe and North America. For now, existing Honda EV projects will continue separately from the new joint venture.
Remember when Sony revealed the rather homely Vision-S 02 electric crossover concept at 2022 CES in Las Vegas? Industry pundits wondered why the gaming, entertainment and consumer electronics giant was bothering in the first place. Now we know. Sort of.
According to a report published by Automotive News, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida believes that during the next decade, the mobility sector will adopt characteristics of the mobile communications sector, both in terms of the technology and the business model. The idea is that you'll buy the device (the EV) and then you'll upgrade or subscribe to new features and functions over time.
So, a "mobility service platform" is what Sony is bringing to the table in this deal. You can also refer to it as a Dyson for your bank account.
Honda, meanwhile, knows how to design, develop and build cars. It's a little late to taking the whole EV thing seriously, but after dabbling in the electric space with the Clarity Electric and Fit EV, it is finally planning a fully competitive model in the upcoming — albeit unfortunately named — 2024 Honda Prologue electric SUV.
Though the Prologue is based on General Motors' new Ultium battery and component set, this is a stopgap solution while the automaker readies its new e:Architecture EV platform juiced by solid-state batteries. Honda is also working with GM's Cruise unit to develop autonomous driving technology.
The new joint venture with Sony won't threaten Honda's transformation to electrification, which it plans to complete by 2040. Instead, Sony's consumer electronics expertise will add some sizzle to Honda's steak. Or Impossible burger, if that's your thing.
We didn't think we'd ever say this, but Sony will have an electric car on the road in just a few years. A joint venture with Honda means the consumer electronics giant gets into the automotive space with zero car-building expertise, while Honda benefits from a persistent payments platform. Tech-savvy consumers with expendable income to burn will likely be dazzled by the results.