The first vehicles will ship to customers in 2026.
Yasuhide Mizuno, CEO of the joint venture Sony Honda Mobility, said the company chose North America "because it is more advanced," according to Automotive News Europe. While that may be true, it's also likely got to do with the new EV tax credit incentives, that encourage consumers to buy American-made vehicles.
However, American consumers are also being prioritized due to high market acceptance and EV-friendly regulations, as seen in California and, soon, New York. "I think North America is a market with a lot of purchasing power," added Mizuno. "Electrification varies from state to state, but it is important for us to release our product in markets like California."
Sony Honda Mobility Inc. hasn't ruled out the idea of producing vehicles in its home country yet but says the American market is its main concern for now. This means when the first models start rolling off the production line in 2026, American-built Japanese cars will be imported into Japan. There are no solid plans for a Euro-market launch, although it is being considered.
Honda will head up vehicle production and parts procurement, but details like the battery supplier or designated assembly plant are unknown. Interestingly, Honda's battery partners (LG and General Motors) are reportedly under consideration.
So, what can we expect from the first model? Well, let's start off with the purchasing experience. The company plans to sell vehicles through online platforms. Honda has said service plans and aftermarket accessories are under consideration.
Customers will be able to place orders in the first half of 2025, with the first vehicles expected to be shipped a year later.
We don't know much about the first model as yet, but the company has given us a taste of what we can expect. The vehicle is being billed as a high-value model (think luxury sedan) that will boast plenty of Sony technology, such as cutting-edge software, entertainment systems, and more. A teaser video (seen above) doesn't give much away, but we expect a reveal to take place in January, at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
"We would like to form this company as a whole new automaker completely different from anything else...our goal is not to become an ordinary car manufacturer, but to become a new mobility tech company centered on software technology," added Mizuno.
While Honda offers fully-electric models in other markets, the brand has nothing similar in the USA. Vehicles such as the CR-V Hybrid remain the closest option and this is a concern, especially as rival automakers are introducing EVs left, right, and center. However, the recently previewed Prologue SUV is set to change all of that, and Honda expects to launch the attractive offering in 2024.
This all forms part of the brand's broader electric intentions. By 2040, the Japanese marque wants to abandon ICE vehicles entirely and offer fully-electric drivetrains. Closer to home, Honda wants to supply 800,000 electric vehicles to the North American market by 2030.
The Prologue will act as the foundation for this plan, with Honda hoping to lure existing CR-V Hybrid owners into an all-electric SUV. This, says the manufacturer, will be done with special lease deals that will allow buyers to get a Prologue as soon as it arrives.