High-Tech Sedan Launching in 2025
In 2022, consumer electronics giant Sony announced it would be partnering with Honda to bring new electric cars to market. The news followed two concept vehicles, the Vision S-01 and Vision S-02, which showcased how Sony could integrate its electronics expertise into a sedan and an SUV, respectively. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the two companies announced their partnership would come to market in the form of a new brand, Afeela. On their display was a prototype all-electric sedan, which is scheduled to go on sale in 2025.
The name “Afeela” comes from “feel,” which Sony and Honda say is at the center of the mobility experience. People are supposed to “feel” mobility as an intelligent technology; and the vehicles themselves will “feel” people and their surroundings using sensor and network IT technologies.
The brand’s purpose, the two companies say, is to “move people, through the pursuit of innovation with diverse inspirations.” Afeela’s products aim to create a “new mobility lifestyle” with an open, pleasant, and exciting experience, and it’s positioning itself more as a mobility technology company than a car company.
Afeela Prototype Sedan
The prototype sedan that Afeela unveiled in Las Vegas is a great-looking sedan characterized by clean, uncluttered lines and a sleek, aerodynamic profile. At the front, the key feature is a “media bar” which allows the car to communicate with surrounding people and vehicles. In addition to providing lighting, it can actually communicate with people around it; as you walk up to the car, it can display information like the weather forecast. The idea being that, even before getting on board, the interactive experience begins.
The minimalist lines, silver paint, and sleek shape are reminiscent of a spaceship. Traditional side-view mirrors are replaced with cameras, there are LIDAR sensors integrated into the roof, and the wheels have aerodynamic covers for maximum efficiency. Its simplicity puts the focus on the Afeela’s technology; the company says that in the future, value standards for mobility will shift from power aand performance to software, networks, connectivity, and user interface.
Minimalist Interior, Maximum Experience
The Afeela sedan’s interior is as simple and elegant as its exterior – the company calls it “pure, gentle, and rounded.” Occupants are embraced in a soft, cocoon-like space decorated with neutral shades of grey and no distracting ornamentation or colors.
Because Afeela is working with a platform designed for electric from the ground up, there’s a remarkable amount of space, and a glass roof further enhances the sense of openness. The interior also features the use of low-environmental impact materials, including recycled textiles and fabric that the brand claims will actually help purify the air.
As you would expect from a partnership that involves Sony, the Afeela sedan features the latest in high-resolution display technology. A panoramic screen spans the entire width of the car, and the steering wheel’s top has been cut off so that the driver has an unobstructed view. Interestingly, Afeela has kept a number of physical controls instead of relying entirely on capacitive touch panels. The steering wheel has actual buttons and there is a central control knob that makes it easier to operate the infotainment system.
The Afeela sedan prototype combines Sony’s sensor technology with Honda’s safety systems to deliver what the brand claims is a very high level of advanced driver assistance. Level 3 autonomous driving will be available in some driving conditions, and Level 2 driver assistance features will be operable under a wide range of conditions. A total of 45 cameras and sensors inside and outside the Afeela sedan prototype monitor the surrounding environment and the cabin.
Sony and Honda are also promising to enhance the value of the mobility space by introducing more entertainment options. A partnership with Epic Games may make waiting for the vehicle to charge a lot more pleasurable, and Afeela promises even more experiences that will make its vehicles unique.
It will be a while yet before we see the first Afeela electric cars on our roads. Sony Honda Mobility, the brand’s corporate parent, says that it plans to start taking pre-orders of the production sedan in the first half of 2025, with sales commencing at the end of that year. The first vehicles to arrive in North America will be delivered in the spring of 2026.