Confirming an earlier report, Sony and Honda have announced the creation of a 50-50 joint-venture aimed at building electric cars. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, the company is called "Sony Honda Mobility" and it plans to begin selling cars in just a few short years.
Sony and Honda plan to finalize the deal in 2022; the new company still needs to be approved by regulators. Once it's set up, the two partners will bring their strongest assets to the table. Sony boasts a great deal of experience in network, entertainment, sensing, imaging, and telecommunication technologies — it's the company that brought you innovations like the Walkman and the PlayStation, after all. Honda will contribute decades of car-building expertise. Sony Honda Mobility will begin selling EVs and providing mobility services in 2025.
An important detail is that, as of writing, neither party has outlined what the collaboration will spawn. One possibility is Sony will ask for Honda's help in bringing the Vision-S 01 and/or the Vision-S 02 (pictured) concepts to production. However, the company has previously been hesitant about becoming a carmaker. In 2021, Sony said that "no plans to mass-produce or sell the vehicle." Has it changed its mind?
While this is pure speculation, it's not too far-fetched to imagine that Sony hasn't changed its mind and that it will instead focus on what it does best. Imagine a Honda model with a Sony-designed infotainment system. Or, driving aids powered by Sony's sensing technology. Integrating, say, PlayStation 5 games directly into a car's software could make a cross-country trip in the middle seats of a Pilot exciting.
The emphasis on mobility services is telling, too. This nebulous, overused term means all sorts of different things to all sorts of different people. It can refer to deploying a fleet of electric scooters in a big city, launching a car-sharing service, or something else entirely.
More details about the Sony-Honda tie-up will presumably be released in the coming months.