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Sony Vision-S Prototype Moves from CES Stage to On-Road Testing in Tokyo

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 1 day ago Sebastian Blanco
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  • Sony surprised the world with the Vision-S debut at CES this year, so releasing a new video out of nowhere to show that work continues on the sleek EV is par for the course.
  • There's still no word on Sony's production plans—if any—but testing sensor technology in a cool package like this sure attracts attention.
  • Sony took a public interest in sensors for autonomous vehicles in 2014, and the Vision-S has 33 of them.
a car parked in front of a building: We can't tell exactly what Sony is up to with this sleek EV, but we're definitely curious. © Sony We can't tell exactly what Sony is up to with this sleek EV, but we're definitely curious.

The history of Sony's surprise electric vehicle concept, the Vision-S, goes like this, according to the three press releases the company has issued about the car:

January 7, 2020: "Vision-S" Unveiled at CES 2020 in Las Vegas

January 2020: Back at the engineering facility in Graz

July 2020: Arrived in Tokyo for development

That pretty much sums up how the electronics giant is treating its possible entry into the automotive space. Step one: make a splash with a concept EV at one of the biggest events on the automotive calendar. Step two: retreat to Austria and say nothing for half a year. Step three: make another splash by releasing a short video that explains little other than that the car has made it to Tokyo.

That's where we are now. Sony's new video shows the car driving in Tokyo and people (presumably Sony engineers) looking at it knowingly. Sony says that it is "currently under development for public road testing this fiscal year," so now we expect another cryptic announcement before too long.

Heres what we know about the Vision-S. Sony is working on the project with partners, including Magna Steyr, and hasn't said anything official about putting it into production. After CES, Sony did say that it was preparing to test the EV this year but didn't give out details other than that prototype vehicle is simply "intended to illustrate our future concepts in the area of mobility."

The Vision-S rides on an all-electric platform that could be used for multiple vehicle bodies, including coupe, sedan and SUV. While details about the battery pack have never been mentioned, Sony has said that the 5180-lb EV uses a dual-motor system that can move it from zero to 60 mph in a claimed 4.8 seconds and on up to a top speed of 149 mph. Sony has also said that the Vision-S has 33 sensors, including radar, lidar, and cameras.

For decades, Sony's connection to the auto industry was pretty much limited to car stereo systems. In 2014, the company announced that it would build image sensors "that surpass the human eye" for autonomous vehicles. It didn't mention anything about making its own autonomous vehicle. Sometimes, the less said the better.


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