Sony to launch automaker to explore electric vehicle market

Although it is best known for its consumer electronics like the PlayStation game console, Sony may soon start building electric vehicles, the company’s top executive suggested during a presentation. Tuesday at the CES Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The electronics giant has teased its interest in the auto industry in previous CES appearances, but this time CEO Kenichiro Yoshida has confirmed that Sony is setting up its own mobility unit. And to give show attendees an idea of ​​what he has in mind, Yoshida pointed to an all-electric seven-seater sport utility vehicle.

Referring to the response to a Sony SUV concept revealed two years ago, Yoshida said, “The excitement we received after presenting the Vision-S (original) really encouraged us to think more about how where we can bring creativity and technology to change the experience of moving from one place to another.

The Sony Vision-S 02 electric SUV debuted at the CES tech show in Las Vegas on Tuesday.Joe Buglewicz / AP

Sony, he added in Tuesday night’s presentation, “is well positioned as a creative entertainment company to redefine mobility.”

Tesla led the shift from internal combustion to battery power, selling nearly a million of its own electric vehicles last year. Startups like Rivian, Lucid and Fisker hope to echo this success.

But some non-traditional manufacturers have also shown interest in car manufacturing. Apple has been tinkering with the idea, on and off, for much of the past decade. He recently signaled that he may consider releasing his own battery-electric vehicle by the middle of the decade. Foxconn, the Chinese company that assembles the iPhone, has also presented plans to build BEVs, though it is more likely to repeat its role with Apple, as a contract manufacturer.

Then there’s Dyson, the UK company best known for its vacuum cleaners and hand dryers. He began to develop a line of electric SUVs, even laying out manufacturing blueprints, before suddenly killing his multibillion-dollar program. Founder James Dyson said he didn’t think the company would be able to recoup its investment in an increasingly competitive electric vehicle market.

Getting into the automotive business doesn’t come cheap, agreed Sam Abuelsamid, senior automotive analyst at Guidehouse Insights. “You can spend a lot of money very quickly. “

But Sony has a lot of money to spend. The company has a market capitalization of nearly $ 160 billion and around $ 31 billion in cash.

Getting into the auto business doesn’t come cheap, but Sony has a lot of money to spend, with a market cap of nearly $ 160 billion.

It also has many technologies that could be used in a future battery electric vehicle. The latest version of the Vision-S SUV debuted at CES on Tuesday “was developed on the basis of safety, adaptability and entertainment,” Yoshida explained.

“Safety has been our number one priority to create a comfortable mobility experience,” he added. “That did not change during the construction of this SUV. A total of 40 sensors are installed inside and outside the vehicle to monitor safety.

When revealing the previous Vision-S concept, Sony said it will offer autonomous driving capabilities. Many experts believe that in a world of self-driving vehicles, travelers will want their cars, trucks, and crossovers to deliver exactly the kind of entertainment technology Sony is known for.

Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman and CEO of Sony Group Corporation, talks about the Vision-S line of electric vehicles.Joe Buglewicz / AP

Specific details have yet to be released, so it’s unclear what line of vehicles Sony might consider or when it will hit the market. He noted that his products would carry the Sony brand, rather than follow the Foxconn model, producing vehicles under contract. The next step will come when a new subsidiary, Sony Mobility Inc., is established next spring.

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