► Surprise announcement from Sony
► EV prototype debuts at CES 2020
► Shows off brand's mobility plans
In what was a rather unexpected turn at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show, Sony announced it has been developing a prototype electric vehicle named Vision-S.
This isn’t just vapourware CGI reserved in the hard drives a Sony employee’s computer, either – it’s a real, moving prototype of a technology area that the electronics giant wants to move in on.
Am I dreaming?
Sony clearly is. The company’s chief exec, Kenichiro Yoshida, said at the car’s presentation: ‘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 have 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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