Honda will build an electric car developed by Sony by 2025. Before you make any Sony Driveman jokes—get it, like the brand’s iconic Walkman music player?—this is huge news for an industry that’s had a hit-and-miss relationship with the tech sector so far.
Sony won’t be physically building any cars at all, at least not at first, so previous statements about not building any cars weren’t totally wrong. Instead, per a joint announcement from Sony and Honda, the latter will build a car for the tech giant as part of a new joint venture getting off the ground this year, dubbed simply “New Company” in the announcement.
The agreement stipulates that the two companies “plan to engage in the joint development and sales of high value-added battery electric vehicles (EVs) and commercialize them in conjunction with providing mobility services.”
The joint venture aims to leverage Honda’s experiences building cars, sales know-how (and, presumably, its sales networks), supply chains, etc.—you know, car company stuff—with Sony’s “development and application of imaging, sensing, telecommunication, network, and entertainment technologies.”
The new vehicle will be co-developed by Honda and Sony via this New Company, which will “plan, design, develop, and sell the EVs, but not own and operate manufacturing facilities,” with that final distinction being key.
Honda will be building the cars at its existing manufacturing facilities, at least for the initial new vehicle being launched in 2025. It is noted that Sony is expected to furnish a new “mobility service platform” for the cars as well, which we take to mean some kind of sweet infotainment package bundled with driver assistance technology.
There is no mention of how the agreement impacts Honda’s future in-house EV plans (which involve, among other things, utilizing General Motors to produce an electric SUV using that brand’s Ultium EV platform), or whether this New Company will carry a more original and marketable name. We know now only that it is natural that a tech giant such as Sony would get hitched to an established automaker to make its, ahem, Vision cars a reality, and we look forward to seeing where this joint venture goes.