Sony Shows Interest In Making Its Own Electric Cars

SEP 23 2015 BY MARK KANE 26

And here's Sony's logo.

And here’s Sony’s logo.

From time to time, major media outlets publish articles on Sony and its hypothetical entrance into the electric car market/batteries for EVs.

This time, The Financial Times outlines the possibilities of a tie-up with a traditional carmaker to jointly introduce EVs.

“The possibility of rolling out a Sony vehicle is also something that Kazuo Hirai is not ruling out, noting that the advent of electric cars has lowered entry barriers for new players.”

Sony chief executive Kazuo Hirai said:

“If we fundamentally believe at some point in time that we can make a difference in the automotive space, it’s something that we will look at.”

“We don’t have plans at this point but never say never.”

In other words, there is still all speculation. And, in fact, Sony’s lithium-ion battery business for consumer electronics is decreasing – “Expected decrease in battery business sales” according to last financial report.

Sony could be present in automotive market as a parts supplier, but we have mixed feelings about the possibility of a tie-up with an established carmaker.

Source: The Financial Times

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26 Comments on "Sony Shows Interest In Making Its Own Electric Cars"

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I think it’s probably too late for Sony…

This is awesome. I love seeing all these new start-ups and established companies wanting to jump in on this market that has forever been viewed as completely unprofitable.

And weird thing is that it still pretty much is unprofitable! But at this point, we can at least see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just charge a premium price, get battery costs down a little more, a few more climate change regulations, make a great product, an inevitable rise in gas prices . . . and it will be a profitable market.

A play station… wagon ?

On pins and needles wondering what bob Lutz will say about this, not.

I want to see some of these Silicon Valley and electronic company EV makers succeed just so his climate-denying gigantic-ego head explodes.

An ancillary benefit to saving the planet.

It’s neat to see such a change to the industry. In 20 years, I wonder how many of the big automakers today are still considered “big”. LG, Apple, Sony, Tesla, might push a bunch of these big automakers out.
It used to be the big automakers could push out the new innovative guys (like Tucker), but now the newcomers have deeper pockets than the established ones.

Couldn’t Apple just buy one of the “big” ones?

Apple can buy every sports team in the USA and still wonder what to do with all the money they have.

If they work their way in, they’ll eventually have the opportunity to buy factories, machinery, and hire employees away from the established manufacturers. It doesn’t make sense to buy other manufacturers that are burdened with pensions and union contracts.

Sony could team up with Apple, they would need an automotive partner, but Suzuki might be willing.

They can’t even make a competitive smartphone….how are they gonna pull a successful EV out of their hats?

+1 – awesome!

Sony’s downside compared to Tesla is that they already sell their products through third parties.

Because of that, they cannot avoid/evade the dealer franchise laws in many states. Tesla has successfully argued that since they have no franchises in any state, that franchisee/franchisor protection laws don’t apply to them. Apple could not argue that, and would have to use traditional dealerships.

Get ready for getting service from your local Chrysler/Kia/Toyota/Apple dealer….

It took an hour of arguing with an Apple Store “Genius”, why exactly, I needed to replace my iPhone’s battery…

1. It literally cooks in my car
2. Hundreds of deep charge cycles
3. Usable Charge Durations Too Brief
4. I want a new one and I know it can be replaced.

A full bloody hour of chanting over and over exactly why I wanted a new one! I had no problem paying $100 for the f’n battery replacement. The obdurate pimple-faced youth I was dealing with, clearly didn’t care what I wanted.

So, I just can’t imagine that kind of customer service working well, if Apple ever seriously gets into Electric Automobiles.

+1

“You’re driving it wrong, here, let me show you…”

You guys reported on Sony’s new joint venture with Hydro Quebec on grid scale batteries – this might be related: http://insideevs.com/esstalion-technologies-sony-hydro-quebec-jv-begin-testing-1-2-mwh-battery-energy-storage-system/

Sony Driveman, with built-in cassette player.

Musk has owned a number of fast cars and is a bit of a car nut/speed freak. So, when Musk joined up with Tesla in the early days he brought to the company some interest in and passion for cars. This was focused on creating and building an electric car that was better than any ICE vehicle out there. The result is Model S. It’s true that companies like Google and Apple (and Sony) have boatloads of money, but do they have someone like Musk to lead them ? Musk can write computer code with the best of them. But has that ingredient that is often missing in many bright and talented people — passion and drive coupled to a vision. Right now, I don’t see anyone like that at either Google or Apple. Just some tekies and bean counters talking mumbo-jumbo about autonomous cars. Apple at least knows how to design useful and appealing consumer products. That’s a real plus if you plan to build automobiles. On the other hand, Googles main claim to fame are Google Search and You Tube. Google boiled down is basically just an internet advertising agency. Can new companies start up and succeed in… Read more »
electric-car-insider.com

+10, very well said.

I’ll observe though that:

Apple has $203 billion cash on hand.
Google has $67 billion in cash.

They both have a virtually unlimited ability to communicate to a customer base of hundreds of millions, essentially for free.

They both have the ability to attract – and manage – the absolute pinnacle of technical talent, especially in the software and electronic hardware fields in which cars are now and will be decisively competing.

So that’s a whole lot more than what Trsla started with (star power aside).

What Mr Lutz is forgetting… or ignoring… is that you don’t have to build it all by yourself… find an ev chassis… like the one in the LEAF or Tesla… order a custom build of that for your company with the body and interior and rolling computer interface to all that mobility, that your folks designed… Apple iAuto powered by Tesla. Or powered by Nissan/Infiniti/Renault.
Lutz is about Detroit… Purpose built EVs are far simpler than the typical Detroit with all its ICE investments and mindset.

Outsourcing… yup, there’s your answer for creating a quality product.

Foo you kill me.

I think it’s interesting that by removing the gas engine from cars, suddenly all these tech companies are seeing a car as just a gigantic consumer electronic and wanting to get in on the game. I’m sure these companies can bring some value to the table. It’s taken a decade for existing car makers to really get in to adding USB ports, headphone jacks, and smartphone-like interfaces to newer vehicles. Tech companies are going to be thinking about adding those kinds of features by default and doing a much better job at it, I would hope. On the other hand, there’s safety and reliability to worry about. Tech companies just love putting in various points of failure so you have to ‘upgrade’ to their latest device every couple years. Doing that on a $15k+ auto isn’t going to fly. BYD also showed how dangerous cars can be if made by someone that doesn’t know what they’re doing. On the other hand, Tesla didn’t know what they were doing and their cars turned out quite safe, so it’s obviously possible. I loved Sony when I was young and their tech seemed rock solid, but their quality has gone down and down… Read more »

Sunny is making electric cars!

Sounds like a desperate attempt to create a captive market for their batteries. A recipe for failure.