New Afeela car brand launched by Sony and Honda partnership
Sony Honda Mobility also revealed an Afeela prototype car at CES in Las Vegas
Electronics brand Sony and car manufacturer Honda have revealed new plans for their Sony Honda Mobility Inc partnership, unveiling the new Afeela brand and a prototype vehicle at CES in Las Vegas. Afeela says the prototype will eventually morph into a production model and pre-orders will start in 2025, ahead of expected deliveries in 2026 in North America.
Sony Honda Mobility Inc previously stated that it will focus on developing and selling electric vehicles, so it’s no surprise this new prototype features a fully-electric powertrain.
On the stage during the unveiling was Sony Honda Mobility CEO Yasuhide Mizuno, who said “at the heart of this mobility experience is a lot of feel. Afeela represents our concept of an inter-vehicle relationship - where people feel the sensation of mobility by utilising sensing and AI technologies. We will evolve and develop driving dynamics and performance but also software, networks and interfaces.”
Afeela said in a joint statement that it “will pursue innovation in mobility by combining cutting-edge technology with people who pioneer the future with their creativity.” There was a large focus on technology during the reveal event, tying in with Sony Honda Mobility’s ‘the three As’, which stand for autonomy, augmentation and affinity.
Level three autonomy is one objective, meaning drivers can take their hands off the steering wheel in ‘limited environments’. ‘Augmentation’ will focus on delivering more entertainment through virtual reality technology using a new infotainment system and ‘Affinity’ will look at building an “interactive mobility society” to help with aftersales.
A notable feature of the prototype is a “Media Bar” on the outside which Afeela says allows the car to interact with people. The digital display located at the front can share information such as charging speed, battery life and even the weather.
As for the design, the Afeela prototype certainly borrows elements from the Sony Vision S 02 concept revealed at last year’s CES in Las Vegas with a rounded body, a full-width rear light bar, two tone paint and minimalist style. The dimensions place it as a rival to the Tesla Model S and upcoming BMW i5 and while Afeela hasn’t said what battery will power it first car, it will get all-wheel drive. The seven-seat, Vision S 02 features a pair of electric motors for a total of 563bhp - it’s possible we could see something similar with Afeela’s creation.
The interior continues the exterior’s minimalist design. Behind the yoke-style steering wheel, there’s a huge infotainment display, made up of two screens (plus a further two screens acting as digital wing mirrors). A dial similar to BMW’s iDrive setup sits on the central armrest.
Afeela says the interior “is designed to be as simple as possible, minimising distracting ornamentation and colours. Comfort is enhanced by the use of low environmental impact materials for the interior components and textiles, as well as the unique fabric that purifies the air.”
Click here to read more about Sony's all-electric Vision S 02 concept...