Sony has surprisingly presented their very own prototype of an electric car at the CES, though the electronics giant has been keeping any production plans to themselves. Sony’s electric limousine named Vision-S is based on a specially developed electric car platform for which international suppliers were involved.
The Canadian-Austrian contract manufacturer Magna Steyr, as well as the well-known technology & automobile suppliers Benteler, Bosch, Continental and ZF all contributed to the development. The electric car concept has two electric motors, which together deliver 400 kW of power. This electric car should be able to accelerate from 0-100km/h (0-62mph) in 4.8 seconds and has a top speed of 240km/h (149mph). However, the main features of the Sony electric car are not parts from European suppliers, but rather the competencies of the Japanese company: In particular, sensor and safety technology and a complete entertainment system are among the components contributed by Sony.
“I believe the next mega-trend will be mobility,” says Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida. The Japanese are interested in sensor technologies that will surpass the human eye – important for autonomous driving, for example, but also for various safety functions. For years, Sony has built up a great deal of expertise in camera sensors, which have so far been used primarily in smartphones. A further developed version of these sensors is now to be used in the automotive industry.
For the infotainment system of the Vision-S, Sony relies on a large screen that almost reaches from door to door. With the monitors for the exterior mirror cameras mounted on both sides, the concept is strongly reminiscent of that of the Honda e. In addition to the panoramic screen, the Sony prototype has two monitors mounted on the back of the front seats – classic rear-seat entertainment. A 360-degree audio system, for which loudspeakers have been installed in each seat, is a special feature.
The third Sony focus is on the software that will make the car particularly adaptable – this includes a direct smartphone connection, over-the-air updates and a user interface that can be configured according to the customer’s individual wishes.
The Vision-S platform is further designed to be applicable to multiple vehicle types, not only for limousines. This includes varying body shapes such as electric SUVs. It is unlikely that Sony itself developed this platform and then left it at a prototype – Yoshida did not give any details about plans for series production or a price. Especially since the partners Magna and Benteler are two companies with proven experience in body construction and Benteler already offers a kind of Blanco platform for electric cars in the form of the “Electric Drive System”.
However, Sony did not disclose which components come from which supplier – Bosch, Continental and ZF all have electric drive know-how, but also experience with assistance systems. Companies such as chip manufacturers Nvidia and Qualcomm, as well as Blackberry, Elektrobit, Gentex and Here were also involved in the development of the Vision-S.