Sony and Honda on Thursday announced the formation of the new joint venture, Sony Honda Mobility (SHM), tasked with bringing to market advanced, software-led electric vehicles.
The first vehicle will be built by Honda at a plant in North America and start deliveries in the U.S. by spring 2026. SHM will start accepting orders for the vehicle in early 2025 and switch to sales later that year. The company plans to focus on online sales, as opposed to the traditional dealership model. Deliveries in Japan will start in the latter part of 2026, and SHM is considering deliveries in Europe but is yet to make a decision.
According to Reuters, the first SHM vehicle will likely be built at one of Honda's plants in Ohio. The automaker this week announced it is upgrading its Ohio plants for EV production, and said it will build a battery plant at Fayette County, Ohio, together with LG Energy Solution.
Sony Vision-S 02 concept
While Honda will primarily focus on vehicle development and production for the joint venture, Sony will focus on developing an ecosystem around the vehicles, which would include an open community and various digital products, some of which will be offered via subscriptions. These might include entertainment services and possibly some vehicle functions, like self-driving capability.
In their announcement on Thursday, Sony and Honda said the SHM vehicles will have a high-level of self-driving capability, including for urban environments, with Sony to provide the imaging and sensing technology. The vehicles will still need the driver to monitor at all times, ranking them at Level 2 on the SAE scale of self-driving capability, but a Level 3 system, the first level where the driver can take their eyes of the road, will be developed, the companies said.
No further details have been confirmed as to which vehicles will be launched by the joint venture, though we know Sony has been testing prototypes based on its Vision-S sedan concept first shown in 2020. Sony this year also showed a crossover counterpart dubbed the Vision-S 02, with both vehicles designed around a modular EV platform sourced from Magna Steyr, the same Austrian company that supplies a platform for the Fisker Ocean. Magna will will handle production of the Ocean, starting from November.