Two Japanese giants, Sony and Honda are planning to establish a new brand that will design electric vehicles (EV). Though the venture is not yet finalized, both have signed a memorandum of understanding, stating their intentions. The unnamed new brand is expectedly going to be formed by the end of 2022 and the sale of their first EV is planned for 2025.
Sony and Honda Share Concept about New Company
Honda will do most of the heavy lifting while Sony will provide the software and underlying technologies. The new company under the Sony and Honda partnership will combine the automaker’s capabilities in manufacturing with the tech giant’s expertise in communication, image sensors, and entertainment. Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida applauded Honda’s worldwide achievements in the automobile industry for over 7 decades. He shared Sony’s intention to partner with Honda for building on their vision to create an emotional mobility space. It plans to contribute to the ongoing evolution of mobility technology based on safety, adaptability, and entertainment.
Honda is already preparing for the release of its first EV in the US by 2024. Sony has also been expressing it’s interest in the industry for a long time. It also developed some prototypes recently. The tech giant also announced the creation of a new mobility company this year at CES 2022.
Entertainment in Cars
The most intriguing part of the Sony and Honda partnership is the introduction of gaming inside the vehicle. The tech giant decided to integrate it’s flagship PlayStation 5 with the car’s screen. The large displays in the center and passenger side can remotely connect to a console at home or over a cloud using 5G. Users can play popular PS games with high-quality graphics while the car is parked or waiting for it to charge.
The idea seems appealing for many but the current 5G technology needs to improve in order for the in-car gaming to work smoothly. It requires a strong and consistent connection which today’s 5G networks are unable to provide. Moreover, gaming in Sony’s prototype Vision-S will be based around a bit older technology. It will use the Dualshock 4 controller of PS4 rather than the latest DualSense controller that comes with PS5.
Tech Giants Getting into EV Industry
Before the announcement of Sony and Honda partnership, several other tech giants have been trying to make their mark in the EV industry. Many cities like Oxford City Center pledged a zero emission plan in response to climate change. It planned to allow only EVs by the end of 2020. However, it deployed its first Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) in 2022 that enforced 2 – 10 GBP charges per day for all car drivers that use petrol, diesel, and hybrid cars, even those with low to ultra-low emissions. Only 100% EVs are exempted from the charges in Oxford ZEZ. The city plans to double the charges by August 2025. Unable to pay the charges can lead to Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) of 60 GBP.
Urban life has been facing acute impacts of climate change. More than 25 cities have responded by planning to go carbon neutral by 2050 including Paris, New York, Rio de Janeiro, London, Mexico City, and Milan. Some Silicon Valley giants are trying to quickly take their place before this industry also becomes saturated. The rumours about electronic Apple Cars have also been circulating since 2007 but nothing yet materialized. According to the latest reports, the iPhone maker was in contact with electric vehicle manufacturer Canoo for the development of its own EV. However, the communication is reportedly on hold ever since Canoo entered the NASDAQ stock exchange in 2020.
The EV market is experiencing slow growth because the products still target a highly specific target audience.