The tech industry has started to altogether retreat from electric car development after a lot of noise coming from tech giants like Apple and even Dyson. Both companies have publicly abandoned EV projects, but Sony is pushing ahead with its first electric car now entering road testing.
Earlier this year, at the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, Sony made a minor splash by pulling out something it had never really done before. It went and made a whole dang car, called the Sony Vision-S concept, with 33 sensors feeding a driver-assistance system and an all-electric powertrain. That car was said to only be an experimental development platform for the company to work on new technologies from going forward.
Yet Sony has now teased that the car has moved from its manufacturing home of the Magna Steyr factory in Graz, Austria to partake in new road testing trails in Tokyo, Japan. This would suggest the car is more than just a platform for say, new screen technologies, or the latest radio, but instead there’s actually further development work also being done on the car, or at least the car’s systems.
The news isn’t really big, but it seems bigger given the context that even a company like Apple assigned the guy who made the iPad to try and have a go at making a car, and the whole thing reportedly failed so bad the company pretty much has never publicly acknowledged it.
More recently, the ultra-sleek and very expensive vacuum and fan manufacturer, Dyson, very publicly spent a lot of its money attempting to develop an all-new electric crossover. By the end of it, the project was too complex and too expensive to justify the expansion from vacuums. It’s pretty likely Dyson only really revealed the final project to see if anybody was interested in picking up where he left off, and picking up some of the tab.
Regardless, Sony’s car project seems much more successful and fruitful than those other tech companies, at least publicly. While I’m betting the road trials in Tokyo will have more to do with the driver-assistance suit of technology on the car, I’m still curious to learn more about the running gear.
Sony has yet to confirm what sort of batteries and motors make up the car’s powertrain. Magna Steyr, the company that manufactured the Sony Vision-S, also builds the electric Jaguar I-Pace, and has previously developed and marketed prototype hybrid and electric parts and technologies to sell to other companies through its concept car development around 10 years ago.
As much as I like the idea of a new company with a different perspective jumping into the automotive industry right when everything is so chaotic, I just wish the Sony was a little more than another silent, silver dead-eyed carbot blob treated like an appliance. But we’ll see where the program goes!