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Sony and Honda EV venture to launch SUV and compact before 2030

Written by Nikkei Asia Published on   2 mins read

Sony Honda Mobility plans to double its workforce to 500 employees.

A joint venture between Sony Group and Honda Motor will introduce three electric vehicle models by the late 2020s as the corporate heavyweights gear up to compete in an increasingly competitive and global EV market, Nikkei has learned.

Sony Honda Mobility will debut a sedan in 2025, an SUV in 2027 and an “affordable” compact car in 2028 or later. The three models will go up against Tesla in the US.

Sony Honda Mobility previously indicated that the sedan EV will be launched under the Afeela brand. Now, it appears two more models will be included in the line.

SUVs are usually more spacious than sedans and carry more entertainment options like stereo speaker systems and video monitors.

The joint venture intends to strengthen its development structure as it expands its product lineup. In January, it began hiring mid-career engineers. It intends to double its workforce to around 500 employees.

The three models will share the same chassis to reduce costs and speed up development.

The compact could be comparable in size to the Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Golf. It is expected to share parts with Honda’s independently developed EVs. Retail prices will be kept low by omitting equipment and functions.

Sony Honda Mobility’s expanded lineup was prompted by the evolving EV market. Although Tesla had been the dominating presence in the 2010s, rivals from China, Germany and South Korea began entering the market in the 2020s, with China’s BYD, quickly becoming a global brand thanks to the popularity of its affordable EVs.

Tesla also cut prices in its main markets—the US and China—to regain its edge.

The Afeela Sedan, which the company has dubbed a “high-value-added EV,” is expected to be priced at more than JPY 10 million (USD 66,413).

Sony and Honda, however, will not be able to enter an already crowded market with only high-end models.

While EV sales have been slowing around the world recently, they are expected to grow in the mid to long term. Around 10.8 million EVs were sold in 2023, accounting for 12% of all new car sales, according to UK-based GlobalData. The research agency forecasts EV sales to rise to around 24.54 million by 2027, comprising 25% of all new car sales, and to 36.37 million by 2030, when they will make up 36% of all new car sales.

Sony Honda Mobility said it is also developing games to play inside cars, using advanced computer graphics technology from US-based Epic Games, which has a capital and business alliance with the Sony Group.

As low-price competition intensifies in the EV market, Sony and Honda, heavyweights in their respective fields, will seek to distinguish the Afeela brand by providing affordable added value.

This article first appeared on Nikkei Asia. It has been republished here as part of 36Kr’s ongoing partnership with Nikkei.


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