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Sony Found the Automotive Partner to Make EVs It Was Looking For: It's Honda

A few days ago, a rumor started circulating that Sony was looking for an automotive partner. The company’s goal was to put the Vision-S and the Vision-S 02 SUV in the market without having to invest billions of dollars to get that done. The rumor was confirmed this March 4 after Honda disclosed the companies signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding).
Sony Vision-S 41 photos
Photo: Sony
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The document states that Sony and Honda will create a new company that will be in charge of “the joint development and sales of high value-added battery electric vehicles (EVs).” Another concern is selling these vehicles and “providing mobility services.”

Honda gets a bit more specific about that further ahead. The yet-unnamed new company “is expected to plan, design, develop, and sell the EVs, but not own and operate manufacturing facilities.” That is probably what made Sony repeat so insistently that it would not sell the Vision-S while it kept developing the car and presenting photos and videos of the process. It was “tell me another” at its best.

The fact that Sony was doing that with Magna suggested that the manufacturing bit of the equation was more than solved. As the world’s biggest manufacturing contract company, Magna could take care of that for Sony. As the joint venture announcement makes it clear, that was not the only concern the electronics giant had: selling the vehicle was also something Sony was sweating to solve.

Honda stated that it “is expected to be responsible for manufacturing the first EV model at its vehicle manufacturing plant.” For the Japanese carmaker, there are several benefits to that arrangement: reducing idle capacity and investing more in electric cars with a partner that has a great reputation for quality are the most important ones.

Sony will be in charge of developing a mobility service platform for the new company. Apart from selling the Vision-S, this joint venture may also offer subscription options. That would make it very similar to Lynk & Co. We also expect to see the companies offering useful software to the vehicles’ owners, such as autonomous systems when they are finally available.

The Japanese titans also made it clear that the MoU is just the first step in getting the new company going. They still have to “proceed with negotiations toward executing various definitive binding agreements, including a joint development agreement and a joint venture agreement.” If everything goes as planned, we’ll learn the name of the new company in 2022. It will be called Sony something: it would not make sense to offer an EV without that branding, just like an Apple car will have to bear the bitten apple logo and the name.

The Vision-S was presented at the 2020 CES. The electric sedan is 192.9 inches (4,90 meters) long, 74,8 in (1,90 m) wide, and weighs 5,181 lbs (2,350 kg). Its two electric motors give it 536 hp (400 kW) and allow it to go from 0 to 62 mph (100 kph) in 4.8 seconds, with a top speed of 149 mph (240 kph).

The Vision-S 02 emerged at the 2022 CES. With the same motors, it is 192.7 in (4,90 m) long, 76.0 in (1,93 m) wide, and 65 in (1,65 m) tall. Top speed will be reduced to “more than 112 mph” (180 kph), but not much more than that due to the higher center of mass and bigger frontal area, which makes it less energy efficient.
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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