Sony’s entry into the automotive world may have initially been met with skepticism, but the company’s partnership with Honda to produce a new electric vehicle (EV) under the brand name Afeela, signals a new level of maturity in the EV market. While Apple’s Project Titan remains shrouded in mystery, Sony has emerged as the tech giant that has figured out how to bring the concept of an EV to fruition.
Sony and Honda’s Afeela EV is disrupting the auto industry with subscription services
The partnership, which began in 2026, aims to produce a new EV that will be built at Honda’s facilities in the US, taking advantage of new EV tax credit rules. This EV will lean heavily into subscription features, and Sony’s vast library of video games and media properties for in-car entertainment. These services can be engaged while drivers and passengers are waiting for the EV to charge or when autonomous car features are deployed, provided that these technologies have advanced enough to ship to customers.
Furthermore, the CEO of Sony Honda Mobility, Yasuhide Mizuno, announced that they are eyeing lease deals for up to 10 years, much longer than most cars are owned today. This is backed up by frequent over-the-air software updates and feature additions. This is a significant departure from the current norms of the car industry and could potentially upend the industry as we know it.
The Afeela prototype, which was showcased at CES, is a sleek EV sedan that looks like a mashup of a Tesla with the Lucid Air. It boasts screens across the width of the dashboard, 45 sensors and cameras for semi-autonomous driving assistance, all-wheel drive, and hints at augmented reality integration and “virtual worlds” embedded into the driving experience. As a result, Sony’s first foray into the automotive sector already appears designed to compete with some of the top players in the luxury EV space.
In an interview with The Verge, Sony Honda Mobility COO Izumi Kawanishi was very clear about why Sony is getting into the car business at all: to chase a new business model that could upend the industry as we know it. “The important thing is software,” Kawanishi said. “We have to strengthen our software technology. That means we can provide mobility services for the future. We have to change the business from hardware to software.”
As the EV market continues to grow at a rapid pace, Afeela will face plenty of challenges in the next few years. However, with Honda’s manufacturing expertise, this joint venture could represent a whole new market and multiple streams of revenue for Sony, which already has a massive foothold in entertainment media and the devices we use to consume it.
The “Afeela” name may be hard to swallow for some, and the joint venture will need to prove itself to new customers. However, Afeela also signals a new level of maturity in the EV market, with serious and reputable companies like Sony and Honda jumping in to own the digitized future of cars defined by subscription services, data and software-driven features.