The next generation of vehicles will be nothing like we’ve ever seen before. With several countries looking to cut their carbon emissions, it looks like the fossil fuel vehicles that have dominated our roads for over a century will meet their end soon. Over the next few decades, those vehicles will be replaced with zero-emission electric vehicles (“EVs”), a relatively new technology that is poised to take over the vehicular transportation sector. Interestingly, this revolution hasn’t been limited to just automakers; companies outside the automotive space have shown plenty of interest in electric vehicles.
In a surprising move, Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony has announced its entry into the young but extremely lucrative electric vehicle industry. The tech company wants to launch its own electric vehicle company, Sony Mobility Inc., in the spring, making it the latest electronic company to step into the automotive sector. Making the announcement in a news conference before the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (“CES”), Sony chairman and president Kenichiro Yoshida presented the Vision-S 02, a prototype SUV built on the same EV platform as the Vision-S 01.
The Vision-S 01 was first unveiled during the 2020 CES and has been in testing on European public roads since December 2020. According to Yoshida, Sony’s experience in cloud, imaging and sensing as well as 5G and entertainment technologies coupled with its mastery of content will allow it to “redefine mobility.”
Sony has been at the forefront of a few groundbreaking technologies after all. The Japanese company was the first company to commercialize lithium-ion batteries after their invention by University of Oxford academics, allowing it to become a leading player in portable consumer electronics such as camcorders, game consoles and laptops.
Since electric vehicles have fewer barriers to entry compared to traditional vehicles, mostly due to the fact that they have fewer moving parts, firms that aren’t traditional carmakers can develop EVs. And ever since Tesla broke onto the scene and showed the world that it was possible to mass produce an electric vehicle, the nascent industry has been filled with plenty of companies trying to copy Tesla’s success. With its history in electronics and a semiconductor business that already targets the automotive sector, Sony may be able to do what other startups and carmakers have so far been unable to do — give Tesla a run for its money.
Consumer electronics juggernaut Apple is also looking to wade into the nascent electric vehicle game. A November report by Bloomberg claimed that the company was looking to develop an autonomous, self-driving car by 2025. By the time Sony’s flagship EV hits the market, it will have to contend with the electric vehicle models from companies such as Lordstown Motors Corp. (NASDAQ: RIDE) that are already on the market.
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