Picture this: you just got “God of War: Ragnarok” for your PlayStation 5, with little time to play it. Playing in the car on the road would be exciting, right? Soon enough, thanks to a new joint venture between Sony and Honda, you might be able to.
Sony Honda Mobility, a collaboration of two of Japan’s most influential companies, aims to produce a special electric vehicle (EV) that will stand out from the pack. The reason? The in-car entertainment system will be like nobody else’s. To shine next to the competition like Tesla or Mercedes, Sony Honda Mobility is integrating Sony’s entertainment technology into its upcoming EV.
“Sony has content, services, and entertainment technologies that move people. We are adapting these assets to mobility, and this is our strength against Tesla,” said Izumi Kawanishi, president of Sony Honda Mobility.
The Sony-Honda joint venture (JV) is expected to take preorders for its first EV in 2025, with North American shipments by 2026. Both companies are actively involved in designing, developing, and selling the futuristic car. Honda will handle the manufacturing components.
Sony unveiled the JV’s Vision-02 concept in January 2022. At the time, it was one of the most incredibly tech-savvy EV designs ever drawn up, similar to the Telsa Model Y, complete with all-wheel drive and 536 horsepower. The Vision made headlines when it included PlayStation 5 connectivity in the rear seating. Sorry to disappoint those who had hoped to play “Fortnite” on the central infotainment screen, but safety comes first.
One year later, at CES 2023 in January, Sony-Honda unveiled the first sedan from its Afeela brand. This car will be the entertainment-savvy EV the two companies have been discussing.
It’s sure to be one of the most technologically-advanced vehicles on the planet.
Sony Honda Mobility also plans to appeal to customers with superior autonomous driving technology. Tesla’s autopilot feature has been well-documented as one of the earliest forms of autonomous driving available to the average consumer. Yet, it has its limitations. Kawanishi believes autonomous driving will maximize the entertainment experience Sony-Honda is implementing in their EV.
“To enjoy the space in your car, you have to make it a space where you don’t need to drive. The solution for this is autonomous driving,” Kawanishi said. “Autonomous driving will have to evolve considerably from the current level to get to that point, and it will take time for that to happen.”
Even if you wanted to play video games or watch your favorite shows, you would likely need to be pulled over or be a passenger. This aspect of ownership would make charging on the road more enjoyable. However, having a car that can drive itself would make the entertainment experience Sony is pushing more feasible.
Sony-Honda isn’t the first manufacturer to integrate ample media capabilities in EVs. Tesla and Mercedes tested the viability of video games in their respective vehicles, but this never really got off the ground. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cited safety concerns, notably distracted driving.
In the end, Mercedes recalled many EVs with video game connectivity attributes while the cars were in motion. Tesla also issued a software update that disallowed video games to be played on the central console. Safety regulators will be the biggest hurdle Sony-Honda will face. However, the JV made it clear that it would only be available in the rear passenger seating.
Sony Honda Mobility’s EV provides families with restless kids entertainment on road trips. However, for a single driver, autonomous driving and safety technology will have to be superior to get full access to all the vehicle offers. If the car can match the range and performance of others in the industry, the JV may find a way to beat Tesla in the EV market.