Automotive

Sony pushes toward the EV market with SUV prototype and mobility brand

Sony pushes toward the EV mark...
Sony will show both the Vision-S 02 (left) and the Vision-S 01`at CES 2022
Sony will show both the Vision-S 02 (left) and the Vision-S 01`at CES 2022
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Sony will show both the Vision-S 02 (left) and the Vision-S 01`at CES 2022
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Sony will show both the Vision-S 02 (left) and the Vision-S 01`at CES 2022
Sony explores a different body style for its 5G-powered connected car tech
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Sony explores a different body style for its 5G-powered connected car tech
Like the original Vision-S, the Vision-S 02 doesn't break any new styling ground, but it is still attractive, especially for a brand that's known more for video game consoles and audio equipment
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Like the original Vision-S, the Vision-S 02 doesn't break any new styling ground, but it is still attractive, especially for a brand that's known more for video game consoles and audio equipment
Like the Vision-S 01 sedan, the 02 SUV is powered by a 536-hp dual-motor electric drive, no word on range just yet
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Like the Vision-S 01 sedan, the 02 SUV is powered by a 536-hp dual-motor electric drive, no word on range just yet
The Vision-S 02 pulls out from behind the Vision-S 01's shadow
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The Vision-S 02 pulls out from behind the Vision-S 01's shadow
Sony introduces the Vision-S 02 concept and announces a new mobility company
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Sony introduces the Vision-S 02 concept and announces a new mobility company
Sony Vision-S 02 concept
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Sony Vision-S 02 concept
The Vision-S 02 interior offers Bravia movie content on its various screens
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The Vision-S 02 interior offers Bravia movie content on its various screens
The seven-seat Vision-S 02 shows a more cargo-friendly form for Sony mobi
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The seven-seat Vision-S 02 shows a more cargo-friendly form for Sony electric mobility
A glass roof with a clean fastback arch
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A glass roof with a clean fastback arch
The Vision-S 02 measures 192.7 x 65 x 76 inches (L x H x W) and has 6.2 inches of ground clearance
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The Vision-S 02 measures 192.7 x 65 x 76 inches (L x H x W) and has 6.2 inches of ground clearance
Sony packs the dashboard with digital display
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Sony packs the dashboard with digital display
Inside the Sony Vision-S 02
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Inside the Sony Vision-S 02
Vision-S 02 seven-seat layout
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Vision-S 02 seven-seat layout
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What once seemed more like the punchline of a joke or answer to a riddle is moving closer to reality. Sony stunned CES crowds two years ago when it showed the Vision-S concept car amongst its usual sea of high-def TVs and high-res audio equipment, and now it takes the ever-important step of showing the SUV version. The all-electric Vision-S 02 debuts just ahead of an official Sony Mobility marque that will further explore the possibility of a production EV.

The Vision-S concept wasn't a pleasant surprise merely because it was a Sony car, but more so because it was a very nice concept car, period. A sleek, curvy four-door fastback any auto enthusiast attending CES 2020 would have gladly taken out for a test spin. It packed in a 536-hp electric drive and an overloaded suite of Sony tech running bumper to bumper.

In fact, it was the long list of autonomous and digital tech that made it easy to dismiss the Vision-S as nothing more than a flashy tech showcase, a voluptuous show model meant to draw attention to the real meat Sony was selling. But by the end of 2020, Sony was testing a fully developed prototype on the roads of Europe – perhaps more than a fancy piece of merchandising, after all.

Testing continued throughout 2021, and now that CES 2022 has rolled around, Sony demonstrates that it's more committed to mobility than ever, revealing the Vision-S 02 as a seven-seat complement to the original Vision-S. More importantly, Sony announced plans to establish Sony Mobility Inc. in spring 2022 (Northern Hemisphere) in an effort to accelerate its mobility proposal development. The new operating company will explore the possibility of entering the EV market, so drivers of the future may indeed be taking the wheel (or at least the traditional driver-side seat) of a Sony.

Sony introduces the Vision-S 02 concept and announces a new mobility company
Sony introduces the Vision-S 02 concept and announces a new mobility company

The Vision-S 02 prototype shows how Sony's connected vehicle platform can easily translate to a different vehicle type optimized for a different breed of customer. The concept relies on the same EV/Cloud platform and entertainment hardware as the original Vision-S 01 sedan, incorporating a full 360-degree suite of sensors, including LiDAR and high-sensitivity, high-resolution CMOS image sensors. Sony is performing verification testing on this hardware in Europe toward the release of Level 2+ advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) on public roads.

Like any good all-electric SUV concept, the 192.7-in (489-cm) all-wheel-drive Vision-S 02 has its eyes on youthful, energetic drivers living the "active lifestyle." It offers plenty of space for a fast-growing outdoor gear collection or faster-growing family, the two rows of rear seats folding flat for plenty of cargo room. Sony also mentions a four-seater for those who value rear legroom over room for extra passengers.

Vision-S 02 seven-seat layout
Vision-S 02 seven-seat layout

Beyond space, the Vision-S 02 interior is heavily focused on entertainment technology, an area in which Sony has much more proficiency than it does auto development. The full-width digital dashboard and seat back-mounted screens serve as displays for the "Bravia Core for Vision-S" digital video service, offering passengers the ability to play a single movie or video across the car or play different content on individual screens. Occupants can even play video games, pulling in gaming content from the cloud or, alternatively, a remote connection to a home PlayStation console.

The Vision-S 02 interior offers Bravia movie content on its various screens
The Vision-S 02 interior offers Bravia movie content on its various screens

Immersive 3D audio comes through via seat speakers, and music can be played through "360 Reality Audio" streaming. Gesture and voice control of various interior systems and features make operation more user-friendly.

5G connectivity is critical to many of the safety and multimedia features of the Vision-S platform, and last month Sony ran its 5G system through an intercontinental test. Using low-latency video and control transmissions, a Tokyo-based control team was able to operate the prototype Vision-S 01 on a German test course. It went down like so:

VISION-S | 5G Remote Driving Test Connecting Tokyo and Germany

Sony introduced the Vision-S 02 and its mobility plans at its CES press conference Tuesday night. The SUV concept will appear alongside an original Vision-S 01 prototype at its CES exhibit, when the show officially opens on Wednesday. Unlike the last time around, we feel confident we'll be hearing much more about the Vision-S after CES ends on Saturday.

The two-minute introductory clip below doesn't provide any additional information, but it takes a quick, scenic trip in the Vision-S 02.

VISION-S 02 | Concept Movie

Source: Sony

View gallery - 14 images
6 comments
6 comments
paul314
Does the idea of automobile as primarily a mobile platform for gaming, streaming and advertising scare anyone else?
guzmanchinky
Well, the more the merrier. It wouldn't be the first time Sony upends a market with innovation.
Bil
Can't understand why a manufacturer like GE hasn't decided to build an EV. With all their resources and partners it should be a no-brainer. Maybe they have better sense.
sally
Sony lost its innovative edge a long time ago sadly, it is little more these days in this market at least than just another gadget maker producing mostly average products at inflated prices compared to the opposition living off of its once impressive and earned reputation. These show cars look pretty good actually but I will be very surprised if it can match what others are doing considering it has been overtaken even in fields it did know all about. I await to be proved wrong mind.
ReservoirPup
If Sony has more guts/brains than Dyson and it could actually make stable money stream out of BEVs, there would be another reason for the price of stock of overhyped BEV manufacturers to reflect reality. Unless Sony wants to ride that wave of hype and forgets that cars are about moving around rather than distracting the occupants with screens.
GregVoevodsky
Ugly (SUV) and boring (sedan)... looks like a Honda and Nissan had an affair as well as some bastard children with other USA brands. Sorry Sony, having a PS5 design for an SUV might look different (I'll take the X-Box). ;-)