Sony and Honda announces their new EV brand Afeela. The brand will appear on the joint venture’s first production electric car, set to go on sale in North America in 2026.
Much is still unknown about the new brand, but Sony Honda Mobility CEO Yasuhide Mizuno said the car would leverage Sony’s experience with AI, entertainment, virtual reality, and augmented reality to present a unique EV. As for now future customers can expect a software-oriented mobility tech company, to sell a new electric vehicle in the U.S. and Japan in the coming years. As Reuters pointed out, it’s very likely that some features will be subscription based, meaning owners will pay monthly fees to get some of the entertainment or tech choices available on the EV. Finally, the affinity aspect expands the emotional side of the new SHM EV. Sony Honda Mobility said it wants to move not just your physical body, but your emotions, as well. The upcoming electric vehicle could one day use digital tools to bridge the driving experience with the metaverse, whatever that means.
SHM, which claims its purpose is to “move people through the pursuit of innovation with diverse inspirations,” will start taking pre-orders for its EV in the first half of 2025. The EV will go on sale by the end of that year, with a focus on online transactions. The first deliveries of SHM’s EV will take place in the U.S. in the spring of 2026 and in Japan in the second half of the year.
Both companies are moving separately toward building EVs. Honda is fresh from showing off its latest zero-emission concept, the 2024 Prologue. Sony revealed a new EV concept called the Vision-S 02 at CES in January (that’s its interior in the photo above). Honda and Sony publicly joined forces in an EV effort in March 2022 with a memorandum of understanding that they would create a 50/50 strategic alliance for mobility. In June 2022, the companies signed a joint venture agreement that they would establish SHM. The new announcement said SHM will be “actively building partnerships with other companies” as it works on its new EV.
Afeela represents our concept of an interactive relationship where people feel the sensation of interactive mobility and where mobility can detect and understand people and society by utilizing sensing and AI technologies,” Mizuno said.
Over 40 sensors, including cameras, radar, ultrasonic, and lidar, will be embedded all over the exterior of vehicle, enhancing its ability to detect objects and drive autonomously. According to Mizuno, Afeela will attempt to embody three main themes, including autonomy, augmentation, and affinity.
The prototype unveiled on stage looked little like the concept first revealed by Sony at CES three years ago. Instead, this was a sedan with a light bar across the front, a closed off grille, and a high-gloss black roof. Black hubcaps and a light accent above the wheel wells were some of the more interesting exterior features. Several observers commented that the Afeela prototype looked like a mashup between a Porsche 911 and the Lucid Air.
The new EV will be priced to compete with other premium automakers, like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo, and Audi. Sony has said it expects its software to offer subscription services, so vehicle owners will likely have to pay a monthly fee in order to access certain features. Like heated seats, faster speeds, longer distance, etc… Think this is a rip off? so do we. Contact us for EV car hacks.
Sony and Honda announces their new EV brand Afeela
It was three years ago when Sony stunned attendees at CES by rolling out a sleek concept sedan called the Vision-S. With its pillar-to-pillar infotainment screens and an emphasis on (what else?) music and entertainment, the Vision-S was supposed to showcase what it would look like if Sony actually made a car. Which it assured everyone it had no intention of doing.
Well, it turned out that wasn’t entirely true. In early 2022, news got out that Sony was creating a joint venture with Honda with the express purpose of mass producing and selling electric vehicles. The Sony-Honda cars will go into production at one of Honda’s 12 facilities in the US, though no details have been shared on planned volume. The EV will be sold first in the US in 2026, and then Japan and Europe at a later date. Preorders are said to open in 2025.
Among some of the ideas that have been floated for the Honda-Sony car was a fully integrated PS5 for gaming and entertainment. According to Yasuhide Mizuno, chair of Sony Honda Mobility and senior managing officer of Honda, the plan was to “develop a car as hardware that will cater to the entertainment and network we would like to offer,” he said in an interview late last year.
In other words, Sony sees cars — and EVs in particular — as a crucial platform for the future of its tech and entertainment products. But it’s not content to license its hardware and software to automakers, or design its operating system like Apple and Google. It wants a hand in the design and development process too. Making cars is incredibly risky and expensive, especially for a company that has never done it before. Just look at Dyson. Just because you make really great non-car products, doesn’t mean those same skills necessarily translate into the automotive space.
Of course, Honda is developing its own lineup of EVs, starting with the Prologue, which is being built in collaboration with General Motors. The Prologue, which is expected to go on sale in 2024, is Honda’s first long-range EV targeted at the North American market. It marks the beginning of a wave of 30 hybrid battery-electric fuel-cell vehicles that Honda says it will release by the end of the decade. Honda will use GM’s Ultium platform to power the Prologue as well as an unnamed 2024 Acura model based on its Precision concept released earlier this year.