Sony has signed a strategic alliance with Honda to develop and sell battery electric vehicles (EVs) alongside mobility services.
The deal will see a new electric car company, using the production and mechanical expertise of Honda and the electronics and telematics of Sony.
Sony has developed two generations of concept vehicle using a range of European technologies, including AI from AImotive in Hungary, alongside its own sensor hardware and telematics software. The vehicles are currently being tested on public roads in Germany.
Sony and Honda are negotiating a joint development agreement and a joint venture agreement, with a goal of establishing the ‘New Company’ by the end of the year.
Sales of the first EV model from the New Company are expected to start in 2025. The New Company is expected to plan, design, develop, and sell the EVs, but not own and operate manufacturing facilities, so Honda is expected to be responsible for manufacturing the first EV model at its vehicle manufacturing plant.
The joint venture will also make use of Honda’s after-sales service management experience cultivated over many years, with Sony’s expertise in the development and application of imaging, sensing, telecommunication, network, and entertainment technologies for a mobility service platform will be developed by Sony and made available to the New Company.
“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,” said Toshihiro Mibe, Director, President, Representative Executive Officer and CEO of Honda Motor. “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. 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 said.
Battery supply is a key element of building electric vehicles. Honda’s Chinese joint venture Dongfeng Honda plans to source batteries from leading supplier CATL for a plant in Hubei province that is due to start production in 2024. The deal sees CATL set to supply 56 GWh of lithium-ion EV batteries to Honda until 2027. But Honda has also signed a deal with SES in the US for lithium metal batteries with higher energy than today’s cells, and plans to take a stake in the company.
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