Sony and Honda plan to start U.S. deliveries of their EV in 2026

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Yasuhide Mizuno, the chairman and CEO of Sony Honda Mobility Inc., speaks during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Oct. 13, 2022.

Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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

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

U.S. deliveries are slated to start in the spring of 2026, with deliveries to the Japanese market happening in the latter half of the same year.

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

Five levels of driving automation have been defined by SAE International, an association made up of technical experts and engineers. On its website, the SAE refers to Level 2 as providing “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.”

If asked to do so, drivers must take control of Level 3 vehicles. The SAE says one example of Level 3 driving would be a “traffic jam chauffer.”

SHM said it would also look to explore “new entertainment possibilities through digital innovations such as the metaverse.”

Thursday’s announcement, which confirmed that SHM had now been established, did not contain information related to the vehicle’s range or cost, but did state 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 communications about the joint venture.

In March 2022, the two firms signed a memorandum of understanding centered around a “strategic alliance” in the field of mobility. In June, a joint venture agreement to set up Sony Honda Mobility was signed.

In April, Honda said it planned to roll out 30 electric vehicle models worldwide by 2030. The automotive powerhouse said it would be allocating roughly 5 trillion Japanese yen (around $33.9 billion) to electrification and what it called “software technologies.”

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

According to the International Energy Agency, electric vehicle sales are on course to hit an all-time high this year.

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