Sony, Honda plan joint electric vehicle company
The plan is to bring together Honda’s expertise in mobility development, technology and sales with Sony’s imaging, telecommunication, network and entertainment expertise.
Sony Group said on March 4 the two Japanese names hope to establish their firm by the end of this year with sales of their first electric model expected to begin in 2025.
The announcement comes on the heels of Sony’s January unveiling of a new prototype, its Vision-S electric vehicle, and the announcement of a new subsidiary Sony Mobility to explore entering the EV market.
“Although Sony and Honda are companies that share many historical and cultural similarities, our areas of technological expertise are very different,” Sony Group president Kenichiro Yoshida said in a statement.
“I believe this alliance which brings together the strengths of our two companies offers great possibilities for the future of mobility.”
At a joint press conference, Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe said discussions on the collaboration had picked up speed when Honda and Sony staff “felt big possibilities, like a chemical reaction” at a joint mobility workshop held last year.
Honda will be responsible for manufacturing the pair’s first vehicle, but both companies will work together on design, tech and sales.
Honda makes the CR-V sport utility vehicle and Clarity plug-in hybrid and already has its own electric vehicle program, teaming up with General Motors to share platforms for EVs in North America.
A union of traditionally different manufacturing businesses is uncommon for Japan. But it makes sense in the age of electric vehicles, which lack gasoline-powered engines and have complicated electronics.
Major global carmakers are increasingly prioritising electric and hybrid vehicles as concern about climate change grows.
At present, around 10 percent of European car sales are EVs, and the US figure is just 2 percent.
But demand is growing, and other major automakers including Honda’s Japanese rivals are investing money and resources into electric vehicles.
Earlier this year, the Nissan auto alliance promised to offer 35 new electric models by 2030 as it announced a total investment of $25 billion in the sector.
Toyota, the world’s top-selling carmaker, has also recently hiked its 2030 electric vehicle sales goal by 75 percent in a more ambitious plan for the sector.
And last week, German auto giant Volkswagen said it was drawing up plans to list its luxury brand Porsche as it looks to raise the funds for its move to electric vehicles.
All the world’s automakers have been developing zero-emissions electric vehicles, as concerns grow about pollution and climate change. But they face tough competition from relative newcomers like Tesla.
The joint venture will develop and design the product, but will use Honda’s plant for manufacturing. Sony, which makes the PlayStation video-game console and owns movie and music businesses, will develop the mobility services platform.