Sony brought another surprise to CES this year, revealing an SUV version of their VISION-S concept EV, which they showed off at CES 2020, and announcing the formation of “Sony Mobility, Inc.,” a new company to focus on mobility and EV efforts.
Even better, Sony explicitly stated that they are “exploring a commercial launch” of their VISION-S concepts, making this project seem more real than ever.
The presentation was rather short-lived, with only about four to five minutes spent discussing the car and Sony’s mobility efforts, right at the tail end of their press conference.
At the end, they drove both cars up on stage for a side-by-side, offering a comparison between the two.
The two are obviously related, with almost identical design language. The SUV is just a little bit larger, with a higher roof in the rear, but otherwise, the cars look very similar – almost to the point where, at first glance, you might chalk up the differences to mere camera perspective.
Really the only main difference we see is in the wheels, with the SUV having aerodynamic wheel covers and the sedan opting for more traditional-looking open-spoke rims.
Sony’s new SUV concept is officially designated the VISION-S 02, with the original sedan concept now taking the moniker VISION-S 01.
There’s not much new for us to tell you about these concepts – Sony didn’t their time talking about specs, and the presentation was short anyway. Most of it focused on Sony’s experience with media and interfaces, and otherwise we’re left with the same specs as were announced originally – 400kW (536hp) dual-motor all-wheel-drive, 0-100km/h (0-62mph) in 4.8 seconds, and a top speed of 240km/h (149mph). We still have no information on availability, price, or battery size.
Inside, Sony retains the same interior they originally showed off at CES two years ago, with a massive wide screen across the dashboard and additional screens on the backs of the front seats. As a company with lots of experience with consumer electronics and media devices, expect plenty of access to music, movies, and games in the car’s infotainment system – along with 3D sound through individual seat speakers.
Of course, no concept car would be complete without autonomous drive sensors, and Sony’s concept includes 40 sensors split between cameras, radar, ultrasonic, and lidar for autonomous driving and parking tasks.
Sony’s new company, Sony Mobility Inc., will officially be formed this spring. In the press conference, Sony referred generally to “mobility” rather than specifically to electric cars, stating that “we believe Sony is well positioned to redefine mobility.”
This could mean that they intend to look into other aspects of mobility – micromobility, ride-share vehicles, a CarPlay analog of their own to sell to other automakers – rather than just focusing on an electric car. But electric cars tend to get more eyeballs than those other efforts, so it’s natural to include them in a publicity event.
But this announcement may not just be to attract eyeballs – Sony did say they are “exploring a commercial launch” of these vehicles. It remains to be seen how serious that exploration is, and we’ll surely find out more about it this spring when Sony’s new mobility company is officially launched.