Sony and Honda have signed a memorandum of understanding to design and market electric vehicles together, the companies announced. The deal isn't final, but the aim is to establish a joint venture this year and start selling vehicles by 2025.
Honda would design, manufacture and market the first model, with Sony creating the mobility service platform. The idea is to marry Honda's car building and sales chops with Sony's infotainment, mobile and image sensor expertise.
"Although Sony and Honda are companies that share many historical and cultural similarities, our areas of technological expertise are very different," said Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe. "Therefore, I believe this alliance which brings together the strengths of our two companies offers great possibilities for the future of mobility."
For Honda, the joint venture might help it achieve its goal of shifting its entire lineup to EVs by 2040. As it stands now, the company has one of the sparsest EV lineups of any automaker, with its only true EV sold in the west being the nichey, Europe-only Honda E.
Sony pitched the partnership as a bid to "fill the world with emotion through the power of creativity and technology." That likely means you can expect high-tech interiors and fancy entertainment systems designed to help you forget that you're stuck in rush-hour traffic. It added that it wants to create a mobility system "centered around safety, entertainment and adaptability."
The news doesn't come as a complete shock, as Sony has already showed not just one but two electric vehicles of its own design, the Vision-S EV and Vision-S 02 electric SUV. When it first appeared, the Vision-S was a showcase for all of Sony's strengths, packing 33 different sensors for 360 Reality Audio tech, wide-screen displays, autonomous driving and other features. Sony promised to debut a new company called Sony Mobility sometime this spring, but it looks like the Honda alliance will serve that purpose instead.