Sony, Honda collaborate on 'premium' electric vehicles that are born in the USA
Get your own Playstation-on-wheels beginning in 2026, and be prepared to pay subscription fees
Sony and Honda have announced plans to jointly produce a "premium" electric vehicle that will be built in the United States, and they want it to be on North American roads beginning in 2026.
Sony Honda Mobility (SHM), the new company spun up for the venture, shared no details as to the price, type of vehicle(s), battery capacity or any other specs at a press conference [PDF] held Thursday.
Joint directors Yasuhide Mizuno and Izumi Kawanishi did discuss the company's overall goals, which center around SHM as a "software oriented 'Mobility Tech Company' by providing high value-added products and services."
SHM said its offerings would go beyond just vehicles, and instead would offer "continuous relationships with customers across the entire value-chain." i.e., subscription services for optional extras in the same way BMW and Tesla have been trialing.
According to Reuters, SHM said during the press conference that it sees the jointly-produced EVs as something "that would open the way to recurring revenue from entertainment and other services that would be billed monthly."
"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 space as a whole," Kawanishi said.
SHM made several mentions of entertainment and cloud services in relation to the company's planned vehicles, but didn't give many specifics outside of saying it wants to "evolve mobility space into entertainment and emotional space, by seamlessly integrating real and virtual worlds."
The as-of-yet revealed Sony/Honda EV is planned to have level 3 automated driving in limited situations and level 2 in other environments, similar to systems built by Tesla, Ford, and others.
You bring the code, we'll bring the cars
Sony and Honda first announced that they would be joining forces to produce an EV in March, and in June shared additional details as to what each company's role would be in the project.
According to Sony, Honda's contributions would mainly be on the automotive and after-sales service side, while Sony would contribute "expertise in the development and application of imaging, sensing, telecommunication, network and entertainment technologies."
SHM plans for software to be the defining feature of its vehicles, the company said during the press conference, with Kawanishi saying SHM wants "to create a team that can win overseas … Software will be our strength, compared with our EV rivals."
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By manufacturing the vehicles in the US, SHM will be able to take advantage of new tax incentives for manufacturing EVs in the US, and will also be in a better position to challenge industry leaders, like Tesla, on their home turf.
Fellow Japanese car maker Toyota has been accused of being behind the curve on EV adoption due to a lack of EV offerings, and a recent recall of one of its only fully electric vehicles is unlikely to help that perception. Honda only offers a single EV currently, and it's not for sale in North America. It, too, has been a laggard in switching from internal combustion to electric motors.
SHM plans to sell its new EVs online, with preorders beginning in the first half of 2025, and sales beginning toward the end of the year. Cars will start shipping to US buyers in Spring 2026, with Japan also getting shipments of the new transport. A European release is being considered, but like most things at the event, no additional info was provided. ®