Sony and Honda set up joint EV company and Sony gets top bill

Sony and Honda set up joint EV company and Sony gets top bill

Sony and Honda have officially signed a joint venture agreement to create a company that will build electric cars together. The new company will be “Sony Honda Mobility Inc.” especially Sony’s highest billing over the established automaker.

The company will also focus on “mobility services,” building on Sony’s January announcement of the founding of “Sony Mobility, Inc.”

Sony Honda Mobility Inc. is being launched this year and plans to start selling both their first EV and “mobility services” in 2025.

Hondas press release stilt:

The new company will bring together Honda’s advanced environmental and safety technologies, mobility development capabilities, bodybuilding technology and after-sales service management experience with Sony’s expertise in the development and application of imaging, sensing, telecommunications, network and entertainment technologies, to deliver a new generation of mobility and to realize mobility services that are closely aligned with users and the environment, and will continue to evolve in the future.

Essentially, Honda will bring its experience in building cars and Sony will bring its experience in software and technology.

We don’t yet know any details about the car that Honda and Sony will be working on together, or what platform it will be built on. We don’t even know how it will be branded – will it be a “Sony Honda” or something more along the lines of “Honda powered by Sony”?

For some recent history, Sony has made their EV ambitions increasingly clear in recent years by showing their VISION-S concept EV at the last three CES conferences.

In each of Sony’s presentations of their concept vehicle, the company has focused on their entertainment and software expertise to suggest that they could offer better technology services (including autonomous driving) than traditional automakers. At first, their concept seemed more like a vehicle to show off this software and entertainment expertise, not intended as a real effort to build an EV.

At the last show, it sounded like they were going to build the sedan — and an SUV cousin — as they said they were “exploring a commercial launch of the vehicle” and formed a new company, Sony Mobility, Inc. , to focus on their efforts in mobility and EV.

But in February, Sony’s CFO stated: “We are not going to make batteries or vehicles ourselvesand that the company would rather focus on finding partnerships.

Shortly afterwards, Sony and Honda signed a memorandum of understanding indicating that they intended to work together.

Honda has been slow to develop electric vehicles, along with most other Japanese automakers. While they finally seem to be making some strides under their new CEO and former head of R&D Toshihiro Mibe, they’re still a long way behind.

They have announced that all new models will be electric by 2030… but only in China. In the US, Honda is still hesitant, stating that the demand for EVs is still not high enough – although any new EV model is currently limited in supply and not meeting demand. Their first mass-market EV, the Prologue EV, will not come to the US until 2024 and will rely on GM’s Ultium platform rather than a Honda-developed platform.

Electrek’s Take

Our view on this move is much the same as it was a few months ago when the Memorandum of Understanding was signed.

I was looking forward to seeing Sony jump with the VISION-S, and repeated screenings made it seem like it could actually happen. But as we initially thought at the initial unveiling of that vehicle, it appears they’ll be focusing on technology partnerships rather than taking the VISION-S to the road itself.

As for the partnership here, we hope it can help Honda get into gear. Since Honda drags their feet, it can help to have a partner to drag them along.

But Sony is a different Japanese company and Japanese companies are known for their conservative business practices. Although Sony is a technology company and moving faster than many Japanese companies, there is still a sense of traditionalism in the Japanese industry that prevents them from adopting new ideas in the EV space. A recent report warned that the shutdown of electric vehicles could have serious consequences for the Japanese economy.

But this Sony Honda Mobility joint venture expresses its intent to leverage the strengths of two of Japan’s largest companies (Honda at #2, Sony #11), in hopes of taking the rest of the world on board. the field of EVs can catch up. We’d like to see the results before 2025, that’s a long way off, but at least it’s something.

FTC: We use auto affiliate links that generate revenue. More.

Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.