Japanese automotive giant Honda and tech giant Sony have agreed to spin off their planned joint-venture electric vehicle startup into a separate, independent company. Earlier this year, Sony and Honda announced plans to establish an EV joint venture that will not only work towards the development and sale of new electric vehicles but also develop a new ‘mobility service platform.’ The two companies didn’t reveal a lot about their plans but said that the first vehicle from the joint venture would hit the market in 2025.
In their joint press release announcing the new partnership, the two companies also revealed that Honda would take care of the manufacturing while Sony would offer its technical expertise in developing the so-called mobility service platform. It is, however, not clear whether the JV would start from scratch with all-new platforms or if it will work on existing concepts from either company. Either way, the JV probably confirms Ford CEO Jim Farley’s recent industry assessment. He said that traditional automakers like Ford would soon have to partner with non-automotive companies to remain relevant as the industry transitions from internal combustion to electric.
In an interview with Nikkei Asia, Sony Chairman, President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said that both companies agreed it would be for the best to spin off their EV into an independent joint venture rather than putting it under Sony or Honda. Yoshida also said that the two companies could even consider selling a stake in their JV or have an initial public offering (IPO) to offload some of their holdings. He didn’t reveal too much more about the companies’ plans but said he might offer more details soon.
Sony-Honda EV Joint Venture
Sony has been eyeing the EV market for a long time and has launched more than one electric concept over the past few years. At the Consumer Electronics Show in 2020, the company unveiled its Vision S 01 concept, which Magna Steyr built in Austria. While the media speculated about Sony’s plans to enter the EV market, the company denied any such plans and claimed that the concept was meant to show off some of the in-car technology that other manufacturers could use in their vehicles.
Then at CES 2022, Sony showed off the Vision S 02 concept SUV that further solidified the idea that Sony is prepping to throw its hat into the EV ring. This time, though, the company admitted that it is exploring an entry into the EV market. Sony’s concept vehicles have received considerable attention from the media for their looks and the technology, so it will be interesting to see if they will be a part of the plan for Sony and Honda going forward. But, of course, Sony is not only the only tech company eyeing an entry into the EV market. Apple is also said to be working on the so-called Apple Car for years now, but unlike Sony, it is going at it alone rather than tying up with an established automaker.