Honda and Sony announce joint venture to build electric vehicles

Two industry heavyweights, one an automaker and the other a technology company, have collaborated to create a new company producing electric vehicles. Honda and Sony announced earlier this month that they had formed Sony Honda Mobility Inc. with plans to launch electric vehicle sales and mobility services from 2025.

In a joint statement, company executives said while details of the partnership were still being negotiated, the new company would be established within a year. Each company will invest 5 billion yen ($37 million) in the venture. Yasuhide Mizuno, a senior Honda executive, will serve as president and CEO, while Izumi Kawanishi, executive vice president of Sony, will serve as president and chief operating officer.

According to a spokesperson, the name of the new joint venture has not yet been decided, but Hony and Sonda are obvious possibilities. Honda will be responsible for manufacturing the vehicles using its current facilities while Sony will be responsible for creating the software and entertainment content for the mobility service.

As seen with the Apple car, companies outside the automotive industry, such as Sony, are expected to enter the market.

In 2020, Honda launched its first-ever battery electric vehicle in the European and Japanese markets, simply called “Honda e”. Like rival Toyota, the maker of the popular CR-V and Civic, has been slower to switch to electric vehicles than most European and US automakers and is under pressure from investors to produce carbon-free vehicles. Honda has only just entered the electric vehicle market in earnest, but it has been developing electric motors through its hybrid program which began in 1999 with the launch of the Insight in the United States.

Last year, Honda announced it was committing to selling only electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2040. Honda has also been trialling fuel cell cars like the Clarity from 2015 , but recently ceased production due to low sales and public interest. Honda says it will rethink its hydrogen strategy going forward.

Honda, meanwhile, will launch two electric vehicle models by 2024 in the United States, as part of a partnership with GM. These two purely electric vehicles, however, have nothing to do with the Honda-Sony collaboration.

Confirming its interest and participation in electric vehicle technology and production, Sony has for its part developed and built the brand’s first two electric vehicle concepts, the Vision-S 01 sedan in 2020 and the Vision-S prototype 02 last year.

Sony Chairman and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said, “We believe it’s better to make the joint venture independent, long-term, than run it under Sony or Honda.

“We want to contribute to the evolution of mobility by providing the base with network functions,” Yoshida said, citing the successful PlayStation game console business model as an example. The company’s entertainment business is growing significantly, outpacing its traditional electronics business. and network services, movies and music together accounted for approximately 51% of Sony’s total sales in the prior fiscal year, reaching 50% for the first time. the new joint venture.

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