Sony—Yes, Sony—Unveiled an Electric Car at CES 2020

Car companies are getting into electronics. Electronics companies, apparently, are getting into cars.

Cars are transitioning toward electric powertrains, autonomous driving technology and connected online infotainment experiences. These transitions, in turn, have shifted much of the competitive locus of auto-dom from the traditional mechanical developments to the realm of electronics. As a result, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is now as important to automakers as any auto show.

And now, electronics companies, apparently, are making cars. Sony—yes, that Sony—unveiled its Vision-S electric concept car during a presentation at CES 2020.

The Vision-S — a sedan that looks sort of like a Polestar mated with a Porsche — boasts a dual-motor electric powertrain built by Magna Steyr. Sony claims a top speed of 149 mph and 0-60 mph acceleration in less than five seconds. (Sony did not mention the car’s battery capacity or the car’s estimated range.)

The Vision S has 33 different sensors on the car monitoring the external and internal environments. These sensors can, reportedly, allow the car to offer Level 2+ autonomous driving systems, as well as monitoring the driver’s attention and providing customized infotainment. Sony also included a sophisticated speaker alignment that provides a surround sound setup for each individual driver, and a Byton-like infotainment screen.

Is Sony about to get into the car production game? Probably not. While electric cars may be the industry’s future, present profits come from selling gasoline-powered pickup trucks and SUVs — and, in Tesla’s case, offsetting the emissions of the companies that do so. The Vision-S is more likely a showcase for what Sony can offer automakers on the tech side.

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