The joint venture between Japanese giants targets US for first electric car, arriving 2026.
Sony Honda Mobility – the joint-venture formed between the two Japanese industrial giants earlier this year – has confirmed it will deliver its first car in Q2 (US spring) 2026.
The vehicle is expected to be an electric SUV in the mould of the Sony Vision-S 02 concept and will major on autonomy and in-car entertainment.
To that end, bespoke system-on-chip (SoC) computer hardware will be developed, targeting processing power of 800 tera operations per second (TOPS). For reference, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 processor – which powers smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S22 – is roughly eight times less powerful, at 104TOPS. Qualcomm plans to use SoCs to muscle in on the automotive market, promising greater ease of integration for car makers.
Sony’s SoC will allow for level three autonomy “under limited conditions” – likely to be motorways that are easier to map and have more predictable traffic – and level two-plus driver assistance in urban environments.
Level three means total autonomy in certain situations but the driver must remain alert at all times and ready to take control if required, whereas level two-plus is a lower degree of driver assistance that melds lane centring control, adaptive cruise control and other features.
Inside the car, a dedicated SoC will drive the infotainment, which promises to be a personalised, cloud-connected service “realising entertainment beyond driving”. According to an official statement, the intention is “seamlessly integrating real and virtual worlds,” potentially using new technologies such as virtual reality and the metaverse.
This is likely to be overseen by Sony, which has previously harnessed the talents of its software development teams for automotive applications. The Nissan GT-R, for example, had its infotainment software designed by Polyphony Digital – the Sony studio behind the Gran Turismo series of video games.
Despite its strong Japanese identity, the Sony Honda EV will be manufactured in the US, where it will also make its debut.
Pre-orders will begin in the first half of 2025, with US deliveries starting in Q2 2026. Japanese orders will be fulfilled later that year.
Prices for a Honda-Sony rival to the Tesla Model Y may start from roughly $60,000 (AUD$96,000), which is poised to get ‘Bluecruise’ hands-free lane-changing technology next year.
The joint-venture company has yet to detail whether the car will be sold in other markets.