Okay, so it's really going to happen. Sony has a partner to build its electric cars. Honda has announced an alliance with Sony to design, build, and sell new EV models.
Honda is already gearing up for the release of its first electric vehicle in the US by 2024, and Acura is expected to follow suit. In the meantime, the Japanese automaker is partnering with Sony to develop electric cars under a separate brand.
Sony has long expressed interest in building an electric car, and has developed a couple of prototypes in recent years.
In a statement (opens in new tab), Honda said the pair will have completed the joint venture agreement by the end of 2022, subject to regulatory hurdles. The first new EV from the "New Company" is expected to go on sale in 2025.
Honda is doing the heavy lifting
Sony's had its eye on building an EV for a while, and rolled out a new concept car at CES 2022. The Vision-S 02 came with an announcement from Sony that it planned to create a new mobility company this year.
At that time, Sony mentioned building relationships with major suppliers and manufacturing partners, so the move to partner Honda is a logical next step down that path.
In terms of what this means from Sony, the company's announcement offers some clues.
"The alliance aims to bring together Honda's mobility development capabilities, vehicle body manufacturing technology and after-sales service management experience cultivated over many years, with Sony's expertise in the development and application of imaging, sensing, telecommunications, network, and entertainment technologies," the announcement states.
That sounds an awful lot like Honda will do the heavy lifting of building the car, while Sony will provide the underlying tech and software.
It's also important to note that Honda's massive dealer network is a great support mechanism to repair and manage vehicles after the fact.
PS5 gaming inside
Sony making an EV is a pretty wild development in itself, but what's even more intriguing is the firm appears set to bring PlayStation gaming inside the cars.
On its Vision-S press site (opens in new tab), Sony writes: "The center display and passenger display remotely connect to a game console at home or to a cloud network via 5G. You can play popular PlayStation games with high-quality visuals on the large screen, while waiting in the car when charging or parked."
That statement is accompanied by the image above - a clear indication that it's serious about in-car gaming. The idea of being able to park up and pick up a controller will be appealing to many - although 5G networks will need to improve to ensure a strong, and consistent connection.
Interestingly, Sony's current messaging around gaming in its two Vision-S concept EVs are focused around the PS4's Dualshock 4 controller, rather than the DualSense controller which comes with the PS5.
Sony unveiled its first EV concept - the Vision-S 01 - in January 2020, which was before the PS5 was announced later in the same year. We'd fully expect a consumer-ready vehicle in 2025 will have the PS5 front and center instead.
Via The Verge (opens in new tab)