► Surprise announcement from Sony
► EV prototype debuted at CES 2020
► Shows off brand's mobility plans
Sony has released a video of its Vision-S electric car testing in the wild, a full year after announcing the project to the world at CES 2020. The new footage was revealed at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show – a digital-only event this time around – and features a working prototype of the EV on European roads.
Future electric cars: EVs coming in 2020 and beyond
Sony's update comes just days after news that Hyundai is set to work on the Apple car.
What do we see?
The video shows the car testing in snowy, low temperatures, and it also gives us a better look at some key features of the Vision-S. Outside, Sony has taken the route of chunky sedan rather than high-riding crossover, and we also get a glimpse of a sophisticated camera and sensor array in place of wing mirrors.
We get another look of the interior, too, which already looks like a Sony product; a short clip that appears to show gesture control, and we now get see the Vision-S' door-to-door infotainment screen in action. Elsewhere, engineers appear to use a counterpart app to control aspects of the EV, and the video also hints at advanced autonomous driving capability.
And like all EVs, it appears to have a good amount of torque.
What do we know?
The company’s chief exec, Kenichiro Yoshida, said at the car’s presentation last year: ‘We believe that the evolution of mobility will redefine cars as an entertainment space. We will accelerate our efforts to contribute to the future of mobility.’
If you can get through the stomach-churning levels of buzzwords on the car’s website, it says that the car ‘represents a fusion of Sony's technology and creativity. It is a glimpse into the future of mobility, encompassing the evolution of safety, comfort, entertainment and adaptability.’
The Vision-S's design appears to be a blend of Tesla’s Model S, the Porsche Taycan and the Audi A7 (particularly at the rear), with 21-inch wheels. It’s shorter and slimmer than Tesla’s evergreen saloon, but the Vision-S is around 20mm taller.
It’s a four-seater, with a clean and minimalist cockpit. The dashboard incorporates both a digital instrument display and huge touchscreens that stretch across, bookended by screens for its door mirror cameras. Much like Honda’s e city car.
Is this real?
So real that Sony worked with Magna Steyr to engineer the prototype EV. The batteries of indeterminate capacity are incorporated into the floor, with two 200kW motors (one on each axle). Sony claims a 4.8sec 0-62mph time and a 149mph top speed. Range isn’t quoted.
Doesn’t Sony do PlayStations and smartphones?
It does. So much so that some of the technology across its many departments has been incorporated into the Vision-S. A ‘360 Reality Audio’ system is included in the car, with each seat having its own speaker. The infotainment system is linked to streaming and gaming services and the whole car is 5G ready.
Sony is also keen to point out the safety capabilities of the Vision-S. There are 33 sensors on the car – everything from surround-view cameras, ultrasonic sensors and LIDAR and driver monitoring facilities. Sony says its technology allows for Level 2+ autonomy.
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