There have been rumors or expectations for years about Apple electric cars, Google electric cars, and Samsung electric cars outside of the Samsung–Renault partnership in South Korea. Though, I don’t recall any rumors about a Sony electric car. I guess Sony is good at keeping a secret, because it just unveiled an electric car concept at CES 2020 that has shocked the world.
The Sony Vision-S looks like a nice, full-size, premium-class sedan. However, specs and details are light so far — as in, there aren’t any. There’s a bit of an expectation that Sony isn’t actually aiming to produce the car, or any electric cars, and is just using this as a way to sell auto products/supplies to automakers. But I watched the presentation, and it sure seems like the president of Sony, Kenichiro Yoshida, is talking about producing whole electric cars. It sure seems like he’s saying Sony will produce the Vision-S. We’ll see.
Aside from showcasing the car’s panoramic entertainment system (reminiscent of what you find in Byton* vehicles), immersive sound system, and extensive camera setup, Yoshida presents a list of big-name partners, with an extra special thanks to Magna Steyr (which is probably the company that actually developed the car, with a bit of guidance). Other partners include Benteler, Blackberry, Bosch, Continental, Elektrobit, Genetex, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and ZF Friedrichshafen.
There’s no doubt about it: the car is pretty, and Sony would be a fascinating addition to the electric car market, one that could really shake things up. Yoshida didn’t mention range or charging speed, but he did touch on one aspect of the car that is basically a nod to Tesla — over-the-air software updates. Sony is a tech company, and if it’s doing cars, it’s going to do them the tech way, the Tesla way.
We’ll see what comes of this Sony Vision-S electric car concept, but no matter what happens to it, I think we can say with certainty that electric vehicles have arrived. Also, it’s uplifting to see a tech giant roll out an electric car concept for the public rather than just secretly work on it behind close doors for years before killing the idea.
Here are some more screenshots from the official Sony Vision-S unveiling:
*Update: I initially compared this interior to the interior of a NIO, but I meant to compare it to the interior of a Byton vehicle.