Sony and Honda will sell their electric car, ‘AFEELA,’ in 2026
For the fourth year in a row, Sony brought its electric car prototype to CES to show it off to a global audience. But this year we finally got what we’ve wanted all along: a production date. We also got a name: “AFEELA”.
According to Sony’s presentation, the car will start pre-orders in the US in the first half of 2025, and the first shipment will be delivered to North American customers in the spring of 2026.
In terms of specs, we didn’t hear much new this year. It will presumably have the same or similar specs as originally announced – 400 kW (536 hp) twin-motor all-wheel drive, 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4.8 seconds and a maximum speed of 240 km/h (149 mph). We still have no information on the price or battery size.
Sony highlighted its electronics expertise by focusing on the car’s sensing and entertainment capabilities. The vehicle will have 45 sensors for autonomous driving (up from 40 at last year’s launch) and will include advanced in-car entertainment options.
Sony thinks its entertainment and software expertise will allow it to provide a better connected car experience than traditional automakers. It plans to have constantly updated software on the AFEELA, something many automakers have promised but been slow to deliver.
Gaming in cars has been a bit of a trend in recent weeks, with Tesla rolling out Steam support (turning cars into $100,000 gaming PCs), NVIDIA announcing GeForce NOW cloud gaming for cars, and now Sony, a company known for its PlayStation products. moving forward with its electric car program.
Sony will partner with Qualcomm on its in-car experience, with a platform Qualcomm calls the “Snapdragon Digital Chassis.”
Since last year’s show, Sony also partnered with Honda to form Sony Honda Mobility, Inc. Interestingly, Sony got top billing in the partnership, rather than the popular automaker.
This partnership helps remove one of the obstacles to getting a car on the road, which is that it’s really hard to build and deliver cars. Honda has experience with this, and Sony has experience with software and electronics, so both can certainly benefit each other in this venture. And hopefully Sony can influence Honda to move faster than it has on EVs.
Absent from the show this year was Sony’s SUV variant, which it showcased last year. That said, Sony referred to the AFEELA as a “new brand” today, rather than an individual car, so it could presumably be expanded to include an SUV variant at some point.
Well, I’ll be damned, a production date. This is really happening.
When Sony first surprised everyone with an EV concept in 2020, we thought it was a little crazy that everyone seemed to be showing EV concepts now. We’ve seen a lot of concept EVs over the years, with varying degrees of seriousness.
Sony could have been another one of the less serious… but it wasn’t. She seemed relatively refined and reasonable and didn’t make as many outlandish claims as some others might have.
At the time, we thought there was a good chance it could happen, and every year since then, Sony has gotten one step closer to actually releasing this machine. But it was never quite safe until now, even last year we had to defend our title.
But now we have a production date, and even that is reasonable. Unlike some other companies that have a single prototype and yet claim to deliver cars at scale within a year or two, Sony has been showing this prototype since 2020 now, and even started road testing that year, which will says it’s been working on it since at least 2019. If it hits the road in 2026, then it’ll take seven years from blank slate to production — about in line with the auto industry average.
And while we’d like to see any EV sooner, 2026 is still ahead of the timelines for other auto delays. Including Sony’s compatriots at Toyota, who think moving to a 50% EV mix by 2030 is a “long shot”.
As someone who has repeatedly criticized automakers for not moving fast enough on EVs, or for making outlandish claims, and particularly criticized Japanese manufacturers for their lack of commitment to electric vehicles, Sony’s vehicle program actually looks remarkably mature. . It seems to be moving at the right pace, going all-electric and making a vehicle that looks realistic and doesn’t over promise.
So while I went into this press conference feeling like “oh great, we’re going to see the same Sony prototype again,” I came out of it once again surprised at what Sony had up its sleeve.
What do you think of AFEELA? Do you like the name? Do you think Sony has what it takes? Tell us in the comments below.
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