Sony Vision-S 01

Who saw this coming? Not us. Honda and Sony – yes the company behind the PlayStation, and for those of a certain vintage, the Walkman – have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will see them work towards a joint venture, through which they plan to jointly develop “high value-added battery electric vehicles” and commercialise the EVs.

This “strategic alliance” aims to create a new era of mobility and mobility services, and the two companies will proceed with negotiations toward executing various definitive binding agreements, including a joint development agreement and a JV agreement, with a goal of establishing the new company within this year. The aim is for sales to start in 2025.

Now, we already know that Sony wants to join the EV market, thanks to prototypes of a an electric sedan (Vision-S 01) and seven-seater SUV (Vision-S 02), both with Level 2+ semi-autonomous features. It has the tech, but a carmaker is needed, and it was reported in January that Sony was seeking partners. Honda it is then.

Sony Vision-S 02

The alliance aims to bring together Honda’s mobility development capabilities, vehicle body manufacturing technology and after-sales service management experience, with Sony’s expertise in the development and application of imaging, sensing, telecommunication, network and entertainment technologies.

The new JV company is expected to plan, design, develop, and sell the EVs, but not own and operate manufacturing facilities. That will be Honda’s responsibility as the carmaker. It is expected that a mobility service platform will be developed by Sony and made available for the JV.

“Sony’s purpose is to ‘fill the world with emotion through the power of creativity and technology.’ Through this alliance with Honda, which has accumulated extensive global experience and achievements in the automobile industry over many years and continues to make revolutionary advancements in this field, we intend 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,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, representative corporate executive officer, chairman, president and CEO of the Sony Group.

“The new company will aim to stand at the forefront of innovation, evolution, and expansion of mobility around the world, by taking a broad and ambitious approach to creating value that exceeds the expectations and imagination of customers. We will do so by leveraging Honda’s cutting-edge technology and know-how in relation to the environment and safety, while aligning the technological assets of both companies,” said Toshihiro Mibe, director, president, representative executive officer and CEO of Honda.

“Although Sony and Honda are companies that share many historical and cultural similarities, our areas of technological expertise are very different. Therefore, I believe this alliance which brings together the strengths of our two companies offers great possibilities for the future of mobility,” he added.

Sony cars? Check out the Vision-S 02 SUV that debut at CES this year and the Vision-S 01 sedan. Prototypes of the latter, built by Magna Steyr in Austria, are already undergoing road tests in Europe. Click on the links for further reading.

GALLERY: Sony Vision-S 01

GALLERY: Sony Vision-S 02