Honda and Sony to establish new EV company

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During CES 2022 in January, Sony Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida announced the creation of Sony Mobility, suggesting for the first time that it will try to turn an electric vehicle (EV) development project started two years ago into a money-making venture.

Today, the company announced that it is collaborating with another Japanese manufacturing giant Honda Motor Co Ltd to plan, design, develop, and sell EVs.

To recall, Sony first announced plans for EVs at CES 2020 and showed off its Vision-S 01 electric sedan at the all-virtual CES 2021. This year’s CES event witnessed the unveiling of the company’s new electric SUV prototype, dubbed Vision-S 02. At the same time, Sony announced the establishment of its Sony Mobility Inc., to accelerate efforts as it looks to commercially launch their EVs.

In a recent statement, Honda announced that “they have agreed to deepen discussion and exploration of forming a strategic alliance that aims to create a new era of mobility and mobility services.” To put it simply, both companies will proceed with negotiations with a goal of establishing the new company within 2022.

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Specifically, both Honda and Sony have signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines their intent to establish a new company through which they plan to engage in the joint development and sales of high value-added battery EVs and commercialize them in conjunction with providing mobility services.

What are the plans for Sony and Honda?

The alliance, according to Honda, aims to bring together their 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, telecommunication, network, and entertainment technologies.

It is “to realize a new generation of mobility and services that are closely aligned with users and the environment, and continue to evolve going forward.” Both companies expect sales of the first EV model from the new company to start in 2025. The new company is expected to plan, design, develop, and sell the EVs, but not own and operate manufacturing facilities.

That would mean that Honda is expected to be responsible for manufacturing the first EV model at its vehicle manufacturing plant. Sony is also expected to develop a mobility service platform for the new company. 

Sony’s Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida believes their alliance with Honda will allow them  “to build on our vision to ‘make the mobility space an emotional one,’ and contribute to the evolution of mobility centered around safety, entertainment and adaptability.” 

On the other hand, Toshiba’s CEO Toshihiro Mibe reckons that Sony and Honda have areas of technological expertise that are very different, although they share many historical and cultural similarities. “Therefore, I believe this alliance which brings together the strengths of our two companies offers great possibilities for the future of mobility.”