Two industry heavyweights, one an automaker and the other a tech company, have worked together to create a new electric vehicle manufacturing company. Honda and Sony announced earlier this month that they have formed Sony Honda Mobility Inc., with plans to begin selling electric vehicles and mobility services from 2025 to be drawn up within a year.
Each company will invest 5 billion ($37 million) in the company. Yasuhide Mizuno, a senior Honda executive, will serve as chairman and CEO, while Izumi Kawanishi, an executive vice president at Sony, will serve as president and chief operating officer.
A name for the new joint venture has not yet been decided, according to a spokesman, but Hony and Sonda are obvious possibilities. Honda will be responsible for manufacturing the vehicles using its current facilities, while Sony will be tasked with creating the software and entertainment content for the mobility service. As with the Apple car, non-auto companies like Sony are expected to jump into the business.
In 2020, Honda launched its first-ever battery electric vehicle to the European and Japanese markets, simply called the Honda e. Like rival Toyota, the maker of the popular CR-V and Civic has transitioned to electric vehicles more slowly than most European and US automakers and is under pressure from investors to produce zero-carbon vehicles. Honda may only have just entered the EV market in earnest, but it has been developing electric motors through its hybrid program, which began in 1999 with the U.S. launch of the Insight.
Last year, Honda announced that it was committed to selling only battery-electric and hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles by 2040. Honda has also dabbled in fuel cell cars like the 2015 Clarity, but recently halted production due to low sales and public interest. Honda says it will reconsider its hydrogen strategy going forward.
Computer chip shortages could drag on into 2022 and prolong high pricesA 600-mile farewell to the beguiling Polestar 1The groundbreaking mid-engine, right-hand drive Corvette conquers European supercar sales in JapanHonda, meanwhile, will launch two EV models by 2024 USA, part of a partnership with GM. However, these two pure electric vehicles are not related to the collaboration between Honda and Sony. For its part, to reinforce its interest and involvement in electric vehicle technology and production, Sony has also designed and built the brand’s first two EV concepts, the Vision-S 01 sedan in 2020 and the Vision-S 02 prototype in the past Year.
Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony Chairman and CEO, commented: “We share the view that making the joint venture independent in the long term is better than operating under Sony or Honda.
We want to contribute to the evolution of mobility by laying the foundation with network functions, said Yoshida, citing the successful business model of the PlayStation game console as an example. The company’s entertainment business is growing significantly, overtaking its traditional electronics business. Games and network services, movies, and music together accounted for about 51% of Sony’s total sales last fiscal year, accounting for 50% for the first time. The combination of Honda’s car manufacturing expertise and Sony’s technology and gaming know-how points to a strong performance from the new joint venture.
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