Sony and Honda ally to build EVs—first product due in 2025

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Honda and Sony announced Friday that they’re exploring the possibility of entering a joint venture for developing and building electric vehicles. 

The two companies say that with the venture, they would “engage in the joint development and sales of high value-added electric vehicles (EVs) and commercialize them in conjunction with providing mobility services.”

There was no detail about market positioning, and whether the new venture would target Europe, the U.S., China, and any combination of the three. Just Japan would seem too small of a market for this level of joint venture.

The announcement isn’t quite as out from left field as it might initially sound. Sony, the company known across generations for personal electronics, from the Walkman to the Playstation, surprised everyone with its Vision-S electric sedan concept

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presented at CES in January, 2020. A year later, it indicated the model was more than a demo for the company’s entertainment tech, with serious on-road testing. Then this year it revealed a Sony Vision-S 02 crossover SUV follow-up concept. 

Sony Vision-S 02 concept

Sony Vision-S 02 concept

The “strategic alliance” and joint venture are still at the discussion stage, however, and although they’ve signed a memorandum of understanding, Honda and Sony still need to hash out agreements for joint development and manufacturing, as well as regulatory aspects.

As the two companies point out, the alliance could be mutually beneficial in that it combines Honda’s mobility development, manufacturing expertise, and sales and service experience with Sony’s technology focus—especially imaging, sensing, and connectivity. 

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Sony Vision-S 02 concept

Sony Vision-S 02 concept

What’s most surprising about the announcement is the timeline—and it’s an indication that this could be something along the lines of Volvo/Geely’s Polestar. The first electric vehicle from the new venture would be sold starting in 2025, according to the companies. While Honda would be responsible for manufacturing, the “new company” would handle planning, design, development, and sales.

That’s after Honda’s EVs built under arrangement with GM will arrive (one for Acura, the other for Honda), but before Honda’s own long-expected dedicated EV platform arrives. So it underscores that, if anything, looking to a new company could very well speed things up. 

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