Sony shows radical new SUV as it confirms plans to enter EV market

Technology giant will establish a dedicated mobility company to explore viability of its Vision-S EV duo

Sony has announced plans to enter the EV market with a new dedicated mobility company, and has shown a pair of bespoke EVs at the CES show in Las Vegas.

The technology giant showed the Vision-S electric saloon in 2020 as a showcase of its autonomous driving and in-car entertainment systems, but even as it started testing with a road-legal prototype a year later it did not suggest that a production variant would follow.

Now, though, the firm will launch a new operating company called Sony Mobility Inc in spring 2022, through which it “intends to explore entry into the EV market”. The Financial Times reports that this announcement sent Sony’s stock price up by more than 4.5%.

The company’s business model will revolve around Sony’s in-house-developed AI and robotics technologies, which the company said will “help realise a world where everyone can live in harmony with robots on a daily basis, fill people with emotion, and contribute to society”.

As part of this expansion into the mobility sector, an initiative Sony refers to as Vision-S, it has revealed a second bespoke EV concept in the form of the Vision-S 02 SUV.

The new seven-seater uses the same platform and connectivity technology as its saloon sibling, and is driven by a 268bhp EV motor on each axle. Sony has not released performance figures beyond confirming it will be able to exceed 112mph, nor detailed the concept’s battery capacity.

It measures 4895mm long by 1930mm wide and 1651mm tall, which makes it roughly the same size as Tesla’s new Model Y crossover, for reference.

Like its saloon sibling, it has been presented in seemingly production-ready form, with Sony even highlighting the extra space afforded by its folding rear seats.

In line with Sony’s emphasis on autonomy, it features “high-sensitivity, high-resolution, wide dynamic range” sensors all round to enhance safety. Sony is currently testing this technology on European roads with a view to launching Level 2+ driver assistance systems.

Drawing on its experience in the entertainment sphere, Sony has also installed speakers in the seats to create a three-dimensional audio experience, which it says will make passengers feel as if they are “surrounded by the live performance of a favorite artist”.

The panoramic infotainment interface and individual rear displays can also be used for video playback or for playing videogames via a remote connection to a Sony Playstation games console.

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