Sony shows radical new SUV as it confirms plans to enter EV market
5 January 2022 - Autocar
Technology giant will establish a dedicated mobility company to explore viability of its Vision-S EV duo
Sony has announced plans to enter the car market with a new dedicated mobility company and shown a pair of bespoke EVs at the CES show in Las Vegas.
The Japanese technology giant showed the Vision-S electric saloon in 2020 as a showcase of its autonomous driving and in-car entertainment systems, but even as it started testing with a road-legal prototype a year later, it didn't suggest that a production variant would follow.
Now, though, the firm has said that it will launch a new operating company called Sony Mobility Inc in spring 2022, through which it "intends to explore entry into the EV market".
The Financial Times reports that this announcement sent Sony's stock price up by more than 4.5%.
The company's business model will revolve around Sony's in-house-developed artificial-intelligence (AI) and robotics technologies, which it said will "help realise a world where everyone can live in harmony with robots on a daily basis, fill people with emotion, and contribute to society".
As part of this expansion into the mobility sector, an initiative Sony refers to as Vision-S, it has revealed a second bespoke EV concept in the form of the Vision-S 02 SUV.
The new seven-seater uses the same platform and connectivity technology as its saloon sibling and is driven by a 268bhp electric motor on each axle.
Sony hasn't released performance figures beyond confirming that the SUV will be able to exceed 112mph, nor detailed its battery capacity.
It measures 4895mm long by 1930mm wide and 1651mm tall, which makes it roughly the same size as the Tesla Model Y crossover.
Like its saloon sibling, it has been presented in seemingly production-ready form, with Sony even highlighting the extra space afforded by its folding rear seats.
In line with Sony's emphasis on autonomy, it features "high-sensitivity, high-resolution, wide-dynamic-range" sensors all round to enhance safety. Sony is currently testing this technology on European roads with a view to launching Level 2+ driver assistance systems.
Drawing on its experience in the entertainment sphere, Sony has also installed speakers in the seats to create a three-dimensional audio experience, which it says will make passengers feel as if they are "surrounded by the live performance of a favorite artist".
The panoramic infotainment interface and individual rear displays can also be used for video playback or for playing video games via a remote connection to a Sony Playstation games console.
Sony won't be the first technology company to take the plunge into the automotive market. Apple has been developing its own EV since at least 2014, Google supplies infotainment software to a raft of manufacturers (including Ford and Volvo) and LG and Panasonic are among the most prolific EV battery suppliers on the market.