Sony Group has shown interest in seeking new technology partners to its electric vehicle (EV) project to help it forge a mobility business to transform cars from transportation machines to entertainment spaces.
An ongoing shift to electric cars, which are easier to build than those with internal combustion engines, is allowing new entrants into vehicle manufacturing.
“We see the risk of ignoring EVs as greater than the challenge they pose,” Izumi Kawanishi, the senior general manager at Sony who will manage a new Sony Mobility business, said in an interview.
The coming transformation of cars was in some ways similar to how information technology turned phones into smartphones, he added.
Sony Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida at the CES technology tech fair in Las Vegas this month announced the creation of Sony Mobility, suggesting for the first time that it will try to turn an EV development project started two years ago into a money-making venture.
At the same time, autonomous driving and 5G connectivity are expected to remold the auto industry by turning cars into mobile platforms for information and entertainment and shared mobility services.
So far Sony has built two prototypes with a factory in Austria owned by Canadian auto parts maker Magna International MG.TO, which also makes cars for firms including BMW, Mercedes Benz and Toyota Motor Corp.