TOKYO — The Japanese electronics and entertainment giant Sony announced on Friday that it would team up with Honda to develop electric cars for sale as early as 2025, becoming the latest company to throw its hat into the burgeoning market for battery-powered vehicles.
Demand for electric cars is small but skyrocketing as concerns about climate change and tightening regulations on emissions pushing consumers into the market. But Japanese companies have lagged behind their competitors in developing the vehicles and are now scrambling to make up ground lost to fast-rising automakers like Tesla and traditional rivals like GM, which has pledged to go all-electric by 2035.
Sony, a leader in digital sensors and imaging technology, announced its ambition to enter the auto market in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, unveiling a prototype SUV that allows passengers to play video games made for its PlayStation 5 console.
But rather than designing its own cars, the company has opted to team up with a traditional automaker, seeking to avoid the pitfalls encountered by other tech companies that have attempted to make their own vehicles from scratch. Sony and Honda said in their announcement that they planned to form a new company this year that would manufacture cars in Honda’s factories.
The agreement is expected to give Sony access to Honda’s industry knowledge as well as its global network of dealerships and aftermarket service providers. Honda will get access to the technology essential to implement features like autonomous driving, and also to Sony’s wealth of entertainment options.
That will be crucial as the companies seek to compete against better-established electric vehicle manufacturers, as well as powerful tech companies, such as Apple, that want to put their own spin on electric cars.
Honda previously announced plans to make a variety of other all-electric cars, including at least two to be made under a tie-up with GM for the American market.
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