Sony and Honda plan to start shipping their EV in the US in 2026

Yasuhide Mizuno, the chairman and CEO of Sony Honda Mobility Inc., speaks at a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, on October 13, 2022.

Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Sony-Honda joint venture focuses on electric vehicles and plans to start deliveries to the United States and Japan in 2026.

Sony Honda Mobility, as it is known, aims to take pre-orders for its vehicle in the first half of 2025 and hopes to begin sales before the end of that year. “For sales, SHM plans to focus on online sales,” a statement released Thursday said.

Deliveries in the US will begin in the spring of 2026, with deliveries to the Japanese market in the second half of the same year.

SHM said it aimed to develop a “Level 3 automated propulsion under limited conditions and to enable Level 2+ driver assistance in even more situations, such as urban driving.”

SAE International, an association of technical experts and engineers, has defined five levels of driving automation. On its website, the SAE refers to Level 2 as “Partial Driving Automation”.

At level 3, automated driving features “can drive the vehicle under limited conditions and will not operate unless all required conditions are met.”

When prompted, drivers must take control of Level 3 vehicles. The SAE says an example of Level 3 driving would be a “traffic jam driver”.

SHM said it would also look at “new entertainment possibilities through digital innovations like the metaverse.”

Thursday’s announcement, which confirmed that SHM had now been established, did not include any information on the vehicle’s range or cost, but did mention that it would be built at a Honda factory in North America.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

This week’s news builds on previous reports about the joint venture.

In March 2022, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding on a “strategic alliance” in the field of mobility. In June, a joint venture agreement was signed to create Sony Honda Mobility.

In April, Honda said it plans to roll out 30 electric vehicle models globally by 2030. The automotive powerhouse said it would allocate about 5 trillion Japanese yen (about $33.9 billion) to electrification and what it called “software technologies.”

Honda’s plans for electric vehicles put it in competition with companies such as Elon Musk’s Tesla and companies such as Volkswagen, Ford and Stellantis. In 2020, Sony presented a prototype electric car at a press event during CES 2020 in Las Vegas.

Electric vehicle sales are on track to hit an all-time high this year, according to the International Energy Agency.

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