Honda-Sony EV to be built and sold in North America first

Honda-Sony EV to be built and sold in North America first

The news from Tokyo came on heels of Honda’s announcement Tuesday in the U.S. that it would create an EV production hub in Ohio as it doubles down on an all-electric future.

Those plans include building a battery plant with its South Korean joint venture partner LG at a cost of $3.5 billion and spending an additional $700 million to retool three plants in the state to make EVs.

Based in Tokyo, the 50-50 joint venture between Sony and Honda was announced earlier this year. Izumi Kawanishi, a Sony executive vice president, is its COO. Mizuno comes from Honda.

The partners say Sony Honda Mobility will combine Honda’s expertise in engineering and manufacturing vehicles, along with its proficiency in providing after-sales service, with Sony’s strengths in imaging, sensing, telecommunications and entertainment.

Honda, in the midst of a radical corporate makeover, said in April it will invest 5 trillion yen ($37.16 billion) over the next 10 years in electrification as it rolls out 30 full EVs globally and builds production capacity for 2 million EVs annually by 2030.

Honda wants to drop combustion and shift to pure electric drivetrains by 2040.

In detailing the strategy, Honda said it will also shift its business away from non-recurring hardware sales toward recurring sales of services that combine hardware and software.

It is part of new software-defined EV platform, dubbed e:Architecture, that the company will launch in 2026 to underpin the next generation of large-sized battery electric cars from Honda.

Honda expects to be ready to supply 800,000 EVs to North America by 2030.

Sony will be responsible for much of the car’s cloud-based systems, electronics, software and infotainment, as well as sensors that help deliver higher levels of automated driving.

Kawanishi dangled Sony’s mammoth library of movies, music and photos as a wealth of content that could be served up on the go. Automated driving will make automobiles a more viable venue for selling such services as people increasingly hand over driving duty to the car’s computer.

“What will be important is the software domain,” Kawanishi said, outlining potential for new revenue streams. “We have to add value and that is where we will place our emphasis.”

Naoto Okamura contributed to this report

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