Sony-Honda EV brand called Afeela starts with sedan

The Sony and Honda joint venture tasked with bringing advanced, software-controlled electric vehicles to market used the backdrop of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show 2023 to launch new automotive brand Afeela.

A prototype for Afeela’s first model, a sleek electric sedan with a digital dashboard and side mirror cameras, was also unveiled during Thursday’s launch.

The sedan features clean aesthetics and a sleek, aerodynamic shape. Interactive front and rear light bars communicate with the outside world via changing light patterns and serve as a welcome sign for the driver as they approach the vehicle.

Inside are screens front and back. The entire width of the dashboard is lined with screens, including at the base of the A-pillars where the screens serve as virtual side mirrors. There are physical controls for commonly used functions, including buttons on a yoke-style steering wheel and around a rotary dial in the center stack.

There will be a high level of self-driving capability, including for urban environments, with Sony providing the imaging and sensor technology. Afeela said it aims to offer Level 3 self-driving capability under certain conditions, the first level that allows the driver to take their eyes off the road. 45 cameras and sensors will be installed around the vehicle, including the cabin. All of that will power Qualcomm’s Snapdragon system-on-a-chip computer, the same computer that General Motors will use for its upcoming Ultra Cruise self-driving system.

Powertrain details for the sedan have not been announced.

Afeela electric sedan prototype

Afeela electric sedan prototype

Afeela is planning a personalized in-car experience that will include new cloud-based features, augmented reality capabilities (including navigation) and potentially virtual universes. Afeela is working with Epic Games to develop some of these concepts.

Afeela is also working with Sony to develop an ecosystem for the sedan and future vehicles. This includes an open community and various digital products, some of which are offered through subscriptions.

Afeela electric sedan prototype

Afeela electric sedan prototype

Meanwhile, Honda will focus on vehicle development and production for Afeela. Production will take place at a Honda plant in North America, probably in Ohio. Honda announced upgrades to its Ohio plants last October to prepare them for electric vehicle production. The company also announced plans to build a battery plant in Fayette County, Ohio, in partnership with LG Energy Solution.

North America is to become one of the main markets for Afeela, sales of the sedan are scheduled to start here by the end of 2025 and deliveries will follow from spring 2026. An SUV is also likely in the pipeline, as Sony has previously introduced both sedan and SUV concepts ahead of announcing its ambitions to launch an automotive brand.